Join the Arts and Prosocial behaviour Research Group (APRG) & GroupLab on Wednesday 1st May, 11.30-13.00 in the Psychology Conference room at the University of Kent, where Ana Leite and Julie Van de Vyver will be presenting their current research project:

A longitudinal test of the effectiveness of an indirect contact intervention for reducing prejudice against refugees.

Studies have shown that self-reported extended contact (knowing people who have outgroup friends) correlates with less prejudice. Research has also shown that extended contact interventions (through story-telling) are effective in reducing prejudice amongst children and adolescents and in laboratory contexts. We tested the effectiveness of a real-world story-telling intervention in improving attitudes towards refugees among adults in the UK over time.

Methods

Through interviews we collected real-world stories of intergroup friendship, which were then adapted by a writer. We then piloted the impact of reading these stories on intergroup attitudes. Following the pilot study we conducted a pre-registered longitudinal and experimental study with a 2 (Intervention: intergroup contact story vs. control) x 3 (Time: 1, 2, 3) mixed model design. Participants read one story (or not) at Time 1. Participants then reported their attitudes to refugees at Time 1, Time 2 (one week later), and Time 3 (one month later). Participants (= 502) were British and were recruited online via Prolific.

Findings

Results showed that the intervention (vs. control) was effective in reducing social distance, increasing support for rights for refugees, and increasing prosocial intentions to help refugees at Time 1. Effects on support for rights and prosocial intentions became non-significant at Time 2 and Time 3. Effects of condition on social distance held over time, as long as participants believed that the story was true.

Discussion

Results show that reading stories of positive intergroup contact is effective in improving attitudes towards refugees amongst adults, however effects weaken over time.

Photo: Ben White from Unsplash.com