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 Lying in a foreign language is easier
19.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Engineering cooperation
05.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>