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The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship$
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Eugene Borgida, Christopher M Federico, and John L Sullivan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.001.0001

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Tolerance and the Contact Hypothesis: A Field Experiment

Tolerance and the Contact Hypothesis: A Field Experiment

Chapter:
(p.228) Chapter 10 Tolerance and the Contact Hypothesis: A Field Experiment
Source:
The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship
Author(s):

Donald P. Green (Contributor Webpage)

Janelle S. Wong (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.003.0010

The contact hypothesis predicts that racial prejudice diminishes when whites and non-whites interact in a setting that fosters cooperation among people of equal status. This hypothesis has seldom, if ever, been tested using randomized experimentation outside the laboratory. This chapter reports the results of a randomized field experiment in which white students were randomly assigned to Outward Bound two- and three-week wilderness courses. In the control group, all the students in each course were non-Hispanic whites. In the treatment group, most of the students were non-Hispanic whites, but at least three of the participants were African-Americans. One month after completing the course, the white participants were interviewed by telephone. As expected, the group that experienced a racially heterogeneous environment expressed greater levels of tolerance than the control group. Although these findings require replication, the research design provides a template for future field-experiments examining the validity of the contact hypothesis.

Keywords:   intergroup contact theory, tolerance, prejudice, prejudice reduction, attitude change

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