Educating the Public on Evidence-based methods for improving inter-group civility.

The Benefits of Friendship – Behavior Edition

Context:
A main focus of intergroup relational studies relies on the ability to improve cross-group interaction and friendships. Especially prevalent in areas or communities with little to no access to an out-group, prejudice becomes a common theme and usually produces adverse effects on attitudes and opinions towards said out-group members. Christ et. al. hones in on potential contact (cross-group direct contact vs. extended indirect contact) between group members to discover a way to improve intergroup attitudes. Specifically, Christ et al. worked to understand how much of an impact extended contact, or indirect friendships with the out-group, may have on improving intergroup relations. Moreover, Christ and his colleagues study what role direct contact plays as a moderator to improving intergroup relations.

The two Hypotheses tested were:
1. The amount of extended, indirect contact for individuals who lack direct contact experience may be positively correlated to improve out-group attitudes and behavioral intentions.
2. Direct contact or cross-group friendships would promote a change in attitude strength more so than only extended, indirect contact interactions.

(Christ et al. defines contact as personal, cross-group friendships with foreigners. Extended contact is defined as indirect friendships or the knowledge of other in-group members with personal friendships with out-group members)

1. What They Did – Intervention Summary:
The second study presented by Christ et al. was focused on mixed vs. segregated religious communities within Northern Ireland. Specifically, the researchers studied the in-group, out-group relations as it pertains to protestant-catholic relations and their direct or indirect contact experiences. The contrast between protestant and catholic communities is based upon Northern Ireland’s society where religious ties and beliefs are incredibly salient. Christ and his colleagues believed this would provide the participants more specific and personal experiences to reflect upon in terms of the living environments of the participants.

Within this study, different from the first, Christ and his colleagues not only studied the effect direct and indirect contact had upon intergroup prejudice and attitude strength, but progressed to apply said experiences to behavioral intent towards the out-group. First, Christ and his colleagues asked members from both communities the amount of direct, cross-group friendships vs. indirect friendships they have. Next, also through self-report measures, the researchers assessed the level of positive behavioral intent in the form of helping or supporting behaviors towards the out-group members. This was done on a 5-point scale where higher points correlated with higher, intended positive behavior. Lastly, the researchers asses the certainty level of attitude towards the out-group, or the strength of prejudice towards the out-group members. This was done on a 4-point certainty scale (1 = extremely uncertain, 4 = extremely certain).

2. What They Found – Results:
As hypothesized, extended contact was far more connected to the intended positive behaviors towards the out-group. The authors even move say that those with very little extended contact, showed the most improvement and beneficial results in terms of intergroup relations when exposed to extended contact compared to those with simply direct contact experience. This was represented within both time periods of data collection (see sample data below). However, the second hypothesis concerning attitude strength was not correlated in the second study for direct connections did not make unique impact on the members of mixed vs. segregated groups as Study 1 discovered.

The take away? – Increasing extended group contact to those with little access to the out-group will not only significantly decrease levels of negative attitude certainty but also increase positive behavioral intentions.

3. Who Was Studied – Sample:
Two groups of individuals (results confirm for both sets):
Time 1: 984 Adults; 493 Catholics: 158 Male, 281 Female; 545 Protestants: 223 Male, 322 Female
Time 2: 404 Adults; 176 from religiously segregated neighborhoods, 228 from religiously mixed neighborhoods

4. Study Name:
Christ et al., 2010, Study 2

5. Citation:
Christ, O., Hewstone, M., Tausch, N., Wagner, U., Voci, A., Hughes, J., & Cairns, E. (2010). Direct contact as a moderator of extended contact effects: Cross-sectional and longitudinal impact on outgroup attitudes, behavioral intentions, and attitude certainty. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(12), 1662-1674.

6. Link:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20966179

7. Intervention categories:
Intergroup relations
Attitude certainty
Behavioral intentions
Intergroup Contact
Attitude-Behavior link

8. Sample size:
1,388

 

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The Benefits of Friendship

Context:
A main focus of intergroup relational studies relies on the ability to improve cross-group interaction and friendships. Especially prevalent in areas or communities with little to no access to an out-group, prejudice becomes a common theme and usually produces adverse effects on attitudes and opinions towards said out-group members. Christ et. al. hones in on potential contact (cross-group direct contact vs. extended indirect contact) between group members to discover a way to improve intergroup attitudes. Specifically, Christ et al. worked to understand how much of an impact extended contact, or indirect friendships with the out-group, may have on improving intergroup relations. Moreover, Christ and his colleagues study what role direct contact plays as a moderator to improving intergroup relations.

The two Hypotheses tested were:
1. The amount of extended, indirect contact for individuals who lack direct contact experience may be positively correlated to improve out-group attitudes.
2. Direct contact or cross-group friendships would promote a change in attitude strength more so than only extended, indirect contact interactions.


1. What They Did – Intervention Summary:
The first study presented by Christ et al. was focused on Western vs. Eastern German residential areas and their members’ reactions to direct vs. extended contact with out-group members, or foreigners. Christ et al. defined direct contact as personal, cross-group friendships with foreigners. Extended contact was defined as indirect friendships or the knowledge of other in-group members with personal friendships with out-group members. The contrast between Eastern and Western Germany is defined by the number of foreigners, or out-group members in each population: in 2005, 2.4% vs. 10.1% respectively. By cross referencing statements of contact experience (direct or indirect) and participants’ self-reported level of indirect prejudice towards the out-group foreigners, the level to which indirect or direct contact would improve intergroup attitudes towards each respective group was illustrated

First, Christ and his colleagues asked members from both East and West Germany the amount of direct, cross-group friendships vs. indirect friendships they have. Next, through self-report measures, the researchers assessed the level of prejudice felt between the two residential areas towards foreigners on a 1-4 certainty scale (1 = extremely uncertain, 4 = extremely certain). These individuals were responding to statements such as “Foreigners are a burden for our social security system” with said certainty self-report levels.


2. What They Found – Results:
Sure enough, through a multi-level analysis, both hypothesis were supported. It was found that extended contact with an out-group member or members was strongly correlated to the level of prejudice felt. More specifically, Eastern Germans with lower extended contact rated higher levels of prejudice with the our group than Eastern Germans who had higher amounts of extended contact. Western Germans, with more extended contact overall, reported a smaller slope of prejudice between higher and lower level extended-contact individuals.  Furthermore, the higher levels of direct contact reported, the higher the levels of positive attitude certainty were found. Moreover, direct contact was not only proven to be associated with positive attitude valence, but also stronger attitudes. In contrast, extended contact was only found to be related to positive attitude valence, not any form or change in strength of said attitude.

The take away? – Increasing Extended group contact will decrease levels of attitude certainty when it comes to negative, prejudice associations with the out-group. However, to truly improve interpersonal relations between the groups, direct contact friendships will aid in decreasing prejudice thoughts and increase positive attitude strength.

3. Who Was Studied – Sample:
General population from Germany; Ages 16 + (Mean age of 47)
Total of 1,024 participants: 464 Men, 560 Women
East vs. West Germany: 395 Eastern Germans, 629 Western Germans

4. Study Name:
Christ et al., 2010, Study 1

5. Citation:
Christ, O., Hewstone, M., Tausch, N., Wagner, U., Voci, A., Hughes, J., & Cairns, E. (2010). Direct contact as a moderator of extended contact effects: Cross-sectional and longitudinal impact on outgroup attitudes, behavioral intentions, and attitude certainty. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(12), 1662-1674.

6. Link:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20966179

7. Intervention categories:
Intergroup relations
Attitude certainty
Behavioral intentions
Intergroup contact

8. Sample size:
1,024

 

 

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Send us Your Academic Papers on Civil Intergroup Relations

Civil Politics exists to help educate the public on evidence based methods to improve inter-group relations, especially those intractable conflicts that have a moral dimension to them, such as the partisanship that paralyzes US politics.  Part of this effort involves compiling all of the existing evidence that may exist in this domain, so that we can more authoritatively bring this evidence to others who are doing the work on the ground.

Evidence can include many things.  It certainly includes empirical research, both in its published and unpublished form.  It includes examples from the news that echo this research, where people talk about what does or does not lead them toward more or less cooperation vs. animosity across groups.  It includes both the empirical study of the effects of programs that focus on improving inter-group dialogue, as well as the lessons that those who run those programs have learned through years of practice.    The basis of psychometrics and crowdsourcing is the aggregation of results across methods, each of which has it’s own sources of error, with the hope that convergent evidence is reached across methods.  It is the same reason that we want to ask multiple people, ideally with diverse tastes, before passing judgment on a new restaurant or movie, and we hope to bring the same thoughtfulness to the evidence that we present on improving intergroup relations.  The links in this paragraph are examples of how we support the collection and dissemination of each of these types of evidence.

We are currently working on projects that aim to be more systematic about evidence in each of these categories and we could use your help.  Specifically, if you know of academic research that provides evidence for the role of specific variables in increasing or decreasing inter-group civility, please do use this form to provide us with details.  Questions and comments welcome (email me at ravi at civilpolitics dt org) and feel free to provide as much information as you have, even just filling in the first part about specific papers, as we can have others fill in the rest of the information.

IMG_5692

A group of USC students working on CivilPolitics’ academic database.

Please do feel free to forward this blog post to anyone who does research bearing on this question or who knows of such research.  We are also happy to acknowledge your contribution publicly and/or to provide rewards to students who contribute to this project (e.g. travel support to academic conferences) to both incentivize participation and hopefully encourage their interest in this domain.  Thank you for your interest and consideration.

- Ravi Iyer

 

 

 

 

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“In-Group Love” without “Out-Group Hate”

“In-Group Love” without “Out-Group Hate”

        Two types of economic games were introduced: the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma game (IPD) and the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma-Maximizing Difference game (IPD-MD). In the IPD game participants allocated tokens between a pool for themselves and a between-group pool (pool B). In the IPD-MD game participants allocated tokens among a pool for themselves, pool B and a within-group pool (pool W). As shown in the pay-off matrices below, a token allocated in pool B will benefit everyone in the group and harm the other group while a token allocated in pool W will benefit everyone in the group without harming the other group. The optimal strategy for individual would be keeping all tokens for themselves. In the IPD game, the optimal strategy for the group would be putting all tokens in pool B. However, if the other group do the same, both groups will gain nothing. In the IPD-MD game contributing to pool W makes a group gain without intergroup competition, but there is no guarantee the other group would do the same.

IPD-MD Payoff Matrix

IPD payoff matrix

1. What They Did – Intervention Summary:

       Participants were randomly assigned to two conditions. In the IPD-MD condition participants played IPD-MD game for 60 rounds. In the IPD condition participants played IPD game for 30 rounds and then IPD-MD game for another 30 rounds. All decisions were made in private using a computer. Participants played in a group of 3 against another group of 3.  Group composition and group matching were kept constant throughout the study. At the end of the study participants were paid for every points they earned.

 2. What They Found – Results:

       For the IPD-MD condition, as can be seen in the picture below, participants contributed on average 31.54% of their endowment to pool W, as compared with only 5.25% to pool B. The rest of the endowment (63.20%) was kept for private use. For the IPD condition, in the first (IPD) part of the interaction, the rate of contribution to pool B was 26.50%. In the second (IPD-MD) part, despite the competition in the first part, the contribution rate to pool B dropped to 5.72%. The present experiment established that out-group hate does not evolve spontaneously in interaction between randomly composed groups, not even after a period of intergroup conflict.

IPD

 3. Who Was Studied – Sample:

Undergraduate Students

 4. Study Name:

Halevy et al., 2012

 5. Citation:

Halevy, N., Weisel, O., & Bornstein, G. (2012). “In‐Group Love” and “Out‐Group Hate” in Repeated Interaction Between Groups. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25(2), 188-195.

 6. Link:

http://www.econ.mpg.de/files/2012/staff/Weisel_JBDM_2011.pdf

 7. Intervention categories:

An opportunity to show ingroup love without outgroup hate

 8. Sample size:

144

 9. Central Reported Statistic:

In the IPD condition, a repeated measure ANOVA with block as a within-subject variable and contribution to pool B as the dependent variable found a highly significant block effect (F(3,33)=25.80, p<.001).

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Our goal is to educate the public about social science research on improving inter-group relations across moral divides.