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When is computer-mediated intergroup contact most promising? Examining the effect of out-group members' anonymity on prejudice

Schumann, Sandy, Klein, Olivier, Douglas, Karen, Hewstone, Miles (2017) When is computer-mediated intergroup contact most promising? Examining the effect of out-group members' anonymity on prejudice. Computers in Human Behavior, 77 . pp. 198-210. ISSN 0747-5632. (doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.006)

Abstract

Computer-mediated intergroup contact (CMIC) is a valuable strategy to reduce negative sentiments towards members of different social groups. We examined whether characteristics of communication media that facilitate intergroup encounters shape its effect on out-group attitudes. Specifically, we propose that concealing individuating cues about out-group members during CMIC increases prejudice, as interaction partners are perceived as less socially present. To assess these hypotheses, we conducted two mixed-factorial experiments. Participants engaged in synchronous intergroup contact via text-chat with out-group members (Study 1) and a confederate (Study 2) who either shared or concealed their name and photo. Overall, CMIC reduced negative out-group sentiments. Study 2 showed, however, that out-group members' anonymity decreased perceived social presence, which was associated with less positive evaluations of the CMIC and higher prejudice. In conclusion, CMIC can contribute to conflict resolution interventions, preparing individuals for direct intergroup contact, if its affordances or conversation topics enhance interaction partners' social presence.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.006
Uncontrolled keywords: intergroup contact, prejudice, anonymity, social presence, computermediated communication
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Karen Douglas
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2017 12:54 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2019 13:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/63328 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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