On the Generalization of Intergroup Contact: A Taxonomy of Transfer Effects

Rose Meleady, Richard J. Crisp, Gordon Hodson, Megan Earle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The contact hypothesis proposes that bringing groups together under favorable conditions can improve intergroup relations. It is now well-established that intergroup contact can improve attitudes not only towards the outgroup as a whole but towards other, non-contacted groups (secondary transfer effect). We review evidence of a further, higher-order generalization effect whereby intergroup contact also impacts more general cognitive processes outside of the intergroup context (i.e. ‘tertiary transfer effects’). We present a taxonomy of transfer effects that explains these generalization effects as distinct outcomes of the contact process, yet contingent upon the same component process, specifically, the assessment of the semantic distance between the target (e.g. contacted individual) and the frame (e.g. group prototype). This conceptualization provides an explanatory framework for uniting the disparate forms of transfer effect in the contact literature, clarifying why primary and secondary transfer effects are facilitated by low semantic distance, and why contact is more cognitively demanding under conditions of high semantic distance (but with greater potential for cognitive growth).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-435
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Volume28
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • INTERGROUP CONTACT
  • PREJUDICE
  • SECONDARY TRANSFER EFFECT
  • COGNITIVE LIBERALIZATION

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