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

Schumann, S; Klein, O; Douglas, K; Hewstone, M; (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. 10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.006. Green open access

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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 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.

Type: Article
Title: When is computer-mediated intergroup contact most promising? Examining the effect of out-group members' anonymity on prejudice
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.006
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.006
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Multidisciplinary, Psychology, Experimental, Psychology, Intergroup contact, Prejudice, Anonymity, Social presence, Computer-mediated communication, CROSS-GROUP FRIENDSHIPS, EXTENDED CONTACT, SOCIAL PRESENCE, SELF-DISCLOSURE, DIEC EXPERIMENT, BIAS REDUCTION, LANGUAGE USE, COMMUNICATION, IDENTITY, ATTITUDES
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043094
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