Positive and extensive intergroup contact in the past buffers against the disproportionate impact of negative contact in the present
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2014
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 44, Issue 6, pages 548–562, October 2014
How to Cite
2014), Positive and extensive intergroup contact in the past buffers against the disproportionate impact of negative contact in the present, European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, pages 548–562, doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2029, , , , and (
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2014
- Article first published online: 16 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 APR 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 23 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 2 JUN 2013
- Australian Research Council. Grant Number: DP0770704
Negative (vs positive) intergroup contact may have a disproportionately large impact on intergroup relations because of valence-salience effects, whereby negative contact causes higher category salience (Paolini, Harwood, & Rubin, 2010). One correlational and three experimental studies in three conflict areas (Northern Ireland, Arizona's border area, and Cyprus; Ns = 405, 83, 76, and 91) tested the moderation of these valence-salience effects by individuals' histories of outgroup contact. Consistent with a perceived fit principle valence-salience effects of face-to-face, television-mediated, and imagined contact held among individuals with negative or limited histories of outgroup contact; these effects were significantly reduced or nonsignificant among individuals with positive or extensive past outgroup contact. These moderation effects suggest that positive and diverse intergroup contact in the past buffers against the harmful effects of negative contact experiences in the present, thus limiting the potential for negative spiralling of intergroup relations. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.