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A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change




Beginning with the historic racial desegregation in the United States, and spreading to other parts of the world, policy makers, guided by the findings of social scientists, have advocated for increased intergroup contact (e.g., in schools and neighborhoods) as the key to prejudice reduction and increased social cohesion. There is contradictory evidence, however, as to whether intergroup contact hinders or promotes support for social change toward equality. Using a larger and more heterogeneous dataset than ever before in the intergroup contact literature (N = 12,997 individuals from 69 countries), we demonstrate that intergroup contact is associated with increased support for social change toward greater equality among members of advantaged groups (ethnic majorities and cis-heterosexuals) but decreased support among members of disadvantaged groups (ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities). Specification curve analysis revealed important variation in the size—and at times, direction—of correlations, depending on how contact and support for social change were measured. This allowed us to identify one type of support for change, willingness to work in solidarity to promote social equality, that is positively associated with intergroup contact among both advantaged- and disadvantaged-group members.


Noor. (2020). A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change. Nature Human Behaviour, 380-386.

Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2019
Publication Date Jan 27, 2020
Journal Nature Human Behaviour
Print ISSN 2397-3374
Publisher Nature Research
Pages 380-386
Keywords human behaviour, social policy
Publisher URL