The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice
Article first published online: 23 JUL 2014
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
How to Cite
Vezzali, L., Stathi, S., Giovannini, D., Capozza, D. and Trifiletti, E. (2014), The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12279
- Article first published online: 23 JUL 2014
Recent research shows that extended contact via story reading is a powerful strategy to improve out-group attitudes. We conducted three studies to test whether extended contact through reading the popular best-selling books of Harry Potter improves attitudes toward stigmatized groups (immigrants, homosexuals, refugees). Results from one experimental intervention with elementary school children and from two cross-sectional studies with high school and university students (in Italy and United Kingdom) supported our main hypothesis. Identification with the main character (i.e., Harry Potter) and disidentification from the negative character (i.e., Voldemort) moderated the effect. Perspective taking emerged as the process allowing attitude improvement. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed in the context of extended intergroup contact and social cognitive theory.