Harmonious Contact: Stories About Intergroup Musical Collaboration Improve Intergroup Attitudes

Jake Harwood, Farah Qadar, Chien Yu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Watching contact between members of one's ingroup and members of an outgroup in the media (mediated vicarious contact) improves intergroup attitudes. We compare mediated vicarious contact with observing only members of the outgroup (parasocial contact), and examine whether the activity of the portrayed contact matters. Building on theory, we predict that watching outgroup members playing music should reduce prejudice more than watching them engaged in nonmusical activities, particularly with vicarious (vs. parasocial) contact. Results show that vicarious musical contact enhances perceptions of synchronization, liking, and honesty between ingroup and outgroup actors in a video, which in turn results in more positive attitudes toward the outgroup. Counter to predictions, parasocial musical contact results in less positive outcomes than parasocial nonmusical contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-959
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Intergroup Communication
  • Intergroup Contact
  • Media
  • Music
  • Prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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