ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (10): 1824-1832.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.01824

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Imagining Contact Reduce Intergroup Bias: Theoretical Basis, Practical Demand, Underlying Mechanisms

YU Haitao;YANG Jinhua;ZHANG Yanjun;JIN Shenghua   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China) (2 Teachers College, Shihezi University, Shihezi, Xinjiang, 832003, China) (3 Teachers College, Beijing Uion University, Beijing, 100875, China)
  • Received:2013-01-31 Online:2013-10-15 Published:2013-10-15
  • Contact: JIN Shenghua

Abstract: Recent studies indicate that simply imagining oneself interacting with an out-group member would reduce intergroup bias and improve intergroup relations. Why does the imagined contact produce positive intergroup outcomes? Mental imagery has been found to elicit emotional and motivational responses as the real experiences (Dadds, Bovbjerg, Redd, & Cutmore, 1997). Moreover, as an important form, the imagined contact can complement more direct forms of contact, although it is not a replacement for direct contact. The effect of imagining contact on bias reduction is mediated by intergroup anxiety, self-disclosure, out-group trust, and the vividness of the imagined scenario, and moderated by group size, group identification, prior contact, and perceptual fluency. We will further discuss the implications of these ?ndings, and provide suggestions for future research (e.g., specifying the processes of imagining contact, focusing on imagining contact of minorities, refining the duration of imagining contact, and integrating it with the intergroup contact theory).

Key words: imagining intergroup contact, theoretical basis, underlying mechanisms, bias, intergroup relationship