“Nudging” intergroup contact: Normative social influences on intergroup contact engagement

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Much research has shown that intergroup contact is associated with a reduction in prejudice. Far less attention has been paid to the conditions that promote intergroup contact. This research explored the role of normative social influence in predicting contact engagement (total N = 1538). Cross-sectional Study 1 found that individual’s perception of descriptive levels of intergroup contact amongst the ingroup predicted their own contact engagement whilst controlling for outgroup attitudes. Study 2 and Study 3 demonstrated that an experimental manipulation of descriptive norms promoted outgroup approach intentions, and actual approach behaviour. Participants were more open to future intergroup contact when they learnt of the high prevalence of this behaviour amongst the ingroup. Study 4 then considered how normative techniques could be used when intergroup contact is not commonplace. Together, the findings provide a new understanding of the antecedents of intergroup contact and new techniques for encouraging greater inclusion and integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1199
Number of pages20
JournalGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations
Issue number7
Early online date15 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Intergroup Contact
  • Social Norms
  • Social Influence
  • Prejudice

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