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Predictors of Compromise over Social and Political Issues



This article provides a social psychological analysis of the neglected issue of ‘intergroup compromise’. We discuss the factors that promote respondents' willingness to compromise with two very different outgroups. We present a framework in which altruistic motivations (such as empathy) and egoistic motivations (such as trust and symbolic threat) act as proximal predictors of compromise, with intergroup contact as a distal predictor. We found that respondents who had more positive contact with homosexuals perceived them to be less threatening, and felt more empathy towards them, and in turn, were more likely to compromise with them on group-specific issues (controlling for the general tendency to compromise). We also found that respondents who had more negative contact with Muslims perceived them to be more threatening, and in turn, were less likely to compromise with them. We discuss these results with reference to recent developments in intergroup relations and the state of public discourse in contemporary Britain, examine their implications for intergroup relations in pluralistic contexts, and make suggestions for future research on willingness to compromise with outgroups.