Over 60 years of research and comprehensive reviews now support Gordon Allport's contact hypothesis that face-to-face interactions between members of opposing groups should be promoted to lessen prejudice and improve intergroup relations. Society however does not yet enjoy the full prejudice-reducing benefits of intergroup contact because opportunities for contact are often not taken up, and segregation persists in the face of diversity. In this article, we review recent investigations on the social psychology of individuals' seeking and avoiding intergroup contact and set the stage for new research in this area. We call for a new generation of research on intergroup contact that addresses a novel and critical research question: What personal, situational, and wider social factors move individuals towards or away from engaging in intergroup contact? This research can help us design intervention strategies to ensure that opportunities for, and benefits of, intergroup contact are fully enjoyed by individuals and groups in increasingly diverse societies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology