Extended contact and attitude generalisation: an experimental study of the secondary transfer effect

Berry, George Thomas (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gordon Allport’s (1954) contact hypothesis states that under optimal conditions, intergroup contact can reduce intergroup prejudice. Advances within this theoretical framework have revealed that instances of intergroup contact need not necessarily be direct (face-to-face) to achieve a significant improvement in intergroup relations, and that extended contact (i.e.,the observation of positive direct contact) can produce similar results. Extended intergroup contact may be of particular relevance in post-conflict nations, such as South Africa, that are characterised by persistent segregation, mistrust, and limited opportunities for positive intergroup contact. Furthermore, it has been discovered that the benefits of intergroup contact with a primary outgroup can generalise towards secondary (infrequently-or non-encountered) outgroups –a phenomenon known as the secondary transfer effect of intergroup contact. However, research regarding both extended contact and the secondary transfer effect within the South African context is limited. The present study aimed to address these gaps in the literature. A3-wave longitudinal, experimental research study exploring the effects of extended contact was undertaken amongst white South African female students at Stellenbosch University (N = 37). Participants in the extended contact condition each observed their white South African female friend engaging in positive intergroup contact with a black (African) South African female confederate. Changes in attitudes and trust towards black (African) South Africans (primary outgroup) amongst these participants over time were compared to that observed amongst participants in a control condition (no direct or extended intergroup contact). The present study also explored whether attitudes and trust towards black (African) South Africans would generalise towards a secondary (unencountered) outgroup (Indian South Africans) for those participants exposed to extended contact (as compared to participants in the control condition). The results showed that extended contact did not produce a significant change in either attitudes or trust towards black (African) South Africans (although the results were in the hypothesised direction, suggesting that the study may have been underpowered). However, changes in both attitudes and trust towards black (African) South Africans from Time 1 to Time 2 significantly predicted more positive attitudes and greater trust towards Indian South Africans at Time 2 (controlling for prior contact with Indian South Africans), supporting the secondary transfer effect for extended contact.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Volgens Gordon Allport (1954) se kontakhipotese kan intergroep kontak onder optimale omstandighede intergroep vooroordeel verminder. Vooruitgang binne hierdie teoretiese raamwerk het aan die lig gebring dat gevalle van intergroep kontak nie noodwendig direk (van aangesig-tot-aangesig) hoef te wees om 'n beduidende verbetering in intergroep verhoudinge te bewerkstellig nie, en dat middellike kontak (d.w.s.die waarneming van positiewe direkte kontak) soortgelyke resultate kan lewer. Middellike kontak tussen groepe kan veral van belang wees in na-konflik samelewings, soos Suid-Afrika, wat gekenmerk word deur aanhoudende segregasie, wantroue,en beperkte geleenthede vir positiewe intergroep kontak. Verder is dit ontdek dat die voordele van intergroep kontak met 'n primêre buitegroep veralgemeen kan word teenoor sekondêre (ongereeld of selfs glad nie teëgekom nie) groepe -'n verskynsel bekend as die sekondêre oordrageffek van intergroep kontak. Navorsing rakende beide middellike kontak en die sekondêre oordrageffek binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks is egter beperk. Die huidige studie het ten doel gehad om hierdie leemtes in die literatuur aan te spreek. ‘n 3-golf longitudinale eksperimentele navorsingstudie wat die gevolge van middellike kontak ondersoek het, is onder wit Suid-Afrikaanse vroulike studente aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch (N = 37) onderneem. Deelnemers aan die middellike kontakkondisie het elkeen hul wit Suid-Afrikaanse vroulike vriendin waargeneem wie positiewe intergroepkontak met 'n swart (Afrikaan) Suid-Afrikaanse vroulike konfederaat gehad het. Veranderings in houdings en vertroue teenoor swart (Afrikaan) Suid-Afrikaners (primêre buitegroep) onder hierdie deelnemers is mettertyd vergelyk met dié waargeneem onder deelnemers in 'n kontrolekondisie (geen direkte of middellike intergroepkontak nie). Die huidige studie het ook ondersoek ingestel na die vraag of houdings en vertroue teenoor swart (Afrikaan) Suid-Afrikaners veralgemeen na 'n sekondêre (onbetrokke) buitegroep (Indiese Suid-Afrikaners) vir die deelnemers wat blootgestel is aan midellike kontak (in vergelyking met die deelnemers aan die kontrolekondisie). Die resultate het getoon dat middellike kontak nie 'n beduidende verandering in houdings of vertroue teenoor swart (Afrikaan) Suid-Afrikaners veroorsaak het nie (hoewel die resultate in die rigting van die hipoteses was, wat daarop dui dat die studie moontlik te min krag gehad het). Veranderings in beide houdings en vertroue teenoor swart (Afrikaan) Suid-Afrikaners van Tyd 1 tot Tyd 2 het egter beduidend meer positiewe houdings en meer vertroue teenoor Indiese Suid-Afrikaners op Tyd 2 voorspel (selfs met voorafgaande kontak met Indiese Suid-Afrikaners inaggenome), wat die sekondêre oordrageffek vir middellike kontak ondersteun.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107990
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