An Experimental Test Of The Reformulated Contact Model
Coursey, Lauren Elizabeth
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Intergroup contact is generally accepted as an effective means of reducing negative outgroup attitudes. However, the nature of the psychological processes underlying the effects of contact is a point of much debate. In an effort to solve this debate, much research has been devoted to investigating (re)categorization strategies involved in intergroup contact. Three popular strategies are decategorization, salient categorization, and superordinate categorization. In the current study I provide an experimental test of Pettigrew’s (1998) reformulated contact model. The reformulated contact model poses a specific time-ordered sequence for the presentation of each of these three categorization strategies. Through computer-mediated contact, the sequence of categorization processes were manipulated to test the predictions of the reformulated model. I hypothesized that decategorization followed by salient categorization and finally superordinate categorization would result in the most positive attitudes toward an atheist outgroup compared to all other order sequences. Contrary to predictions, the order of categorization discussion prompts did not predict attitudes toward atheists. Attitudes toward atheists became more positive following the contact manipulation for all participants regardless of condition. Different categorization prompts uniquely impacted self-reported mood. The theoretical and practical implications of the study are explored.