Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Getting to Know You: How Familiarity Breeds Respect

11.11.2005


When someone in our social group makes friends with someone from another background, the chances are that our own prejudices will break down, according to new ESRC-funded research.



A study led by Dr. Adam Rutland, of the University of Kent, backs claims that the more we learn about others, the better we are likely to get on with them.

It found that what is termed the ‘extended contact’ approach, could effectively change children’s attitudes and intended behaviour towards refugees, across the entire age range from six to 11.


Extended contact works on the idea that when a member of one group has a close relationship or contact with someone from another, this can lead to more positive attitudes all round.

Best results of all came when children were encouraged to see their own and other groups as sharing a common identity – their school – in addition to retaining their separate one as, say, English or a refugee. In other words, having a ‘dual’ identity.

To test this theory, researchers presented English children with one of their group who had made friends with a refugee youngster. Exercises over several weeks also included getting children to read adventure stories in which both English and refugee youngsters were shown in a positive light, and as friends.

Dr Rutland said: “Our findings testify to the value of extended contact as an approach to reducing prejudice. In particular, we found that including characters from other backgrounds in the stories read at school was very effective.” The project examined various theories about childhood prejudice, and the effectiveness of various processes, or interventions, used by those trying to encourage friendship and co-operation.

The area studied was East Kent, which includes Dover and Folkestone, and contains a high proportion of immigrants or refugees as the main port of entry into the UK. Tension has arisen between the majority community and immigrants. One intervention technique examined - multiple classification skills training - is based on the belief that children are prejudiced because they cannot cope with more than one concept – for instance, that someone is Afro-Caribbean British and friendly. Nor, it is thought, can they take into account other people’s points of view.

However, researchers found that though this sort of training improved children’s ability to handle multiple concepts, it had no effect on attitudes towards others. Alternative approaches, all found effective, derive from theories that, under a given set of conditions, contact between members of different groups reduces existing prejudices.

Dr Rutland said: “It seems that extended contact leads children to ‘include the other in the self’ and this in turn leads to more positive attitudes.

Will Godwin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>