Impact of intergroup contact on preventing discrimination


Psychologists believe that intergroup contact is the best way to reduce prejudices and stereotypes about minorities. On the other hand there are reports from research that intergroup contact may also have a demobilizing effect on minorities, because close relations with the majority may weaken their awareness of discrimination. The latest issue of the journal Nature Human Behavior published an article analyzing these controversies based on a study conducted in 69 countries on nearly 5,000 heterosexual people, almost 4,000 non-heterosexual people, over 3,000 majority groups and 1,000 people belonging to national minorities. Co-authors of the publication are prof. Michał Bilewicz, head of the Center for Research on Prejudice and Olga Kuzawińska, student at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw.
The research team, the Polish part of which were employees of the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw implementing the LCure FNP TEAM project, proved that contact can actually demobilize minorities, reducing their involvement in the fight for their rights. On the other hand, contact increases the involvement of majority groups. “The more we know Ukrainians or non-heterosexual people, the more likely that we will go to the Equality March or support policies that facilitate the functioning of immigrants, such as the presence of Ukrainian inscriptions in offices or information points,” concludes prof. Michał Bilewicz. “The readiness of ordinary people to work for immigrant groups depends to a large extent on whether Poland will be perceived as a desirable country of economic emigration, where Ukrainians or Nepalese people will feel good – that’s why it’s worth taking care of everyday contacts,” he adds. .
The TEAM Foundation for Polish Science project “Language as a cure: linguistic vitality as a tool for psychological well-being, health and economic sustainability (LCure)” is implemented by the Artes Liberales Department and the Center for Research on Prejudice of the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw. It includes studies of minority and immigrant groups focused on factors increasing psychological well-being and social activity of Ukrainians, Wilamians, Lemkos in Poland and Nahua in Mexico. The project is managed by dr hab. Justyna Olko (Faculty of “Artes Liberales”) and dr hab. Michał Bilewicz, prof. learn. The co-author of the article in Nature Human Behavior is also a scholarship holder of the project Olga Kuzawińska.
Publication details:
Hässler T., Ullrich J., Bernardino M. et al., 2019, A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change, “Nature Human Behavior”, DOI: 10.1038 / s41562-019-0815- z, article available online:
Source of information: Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw (