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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2010 Dec;36(12):1662-74. doi: 10.1177/0146167210386969. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Direct contact as a moderator of extended contact effects: cross-sectional and longitudinal impact on outgroup attitudes, behavioral intentions, and attitude certainty.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Section for Psychological Methods, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


Cross-group friendships (the most effective form of direct contact) and extended contact (i.e., knowing ingroup members who have outgroup friends) constitute two of the most important means of improving outgroup attitudes. Using cross-sectional and longitudinal samples from different intergroup contexts, this research demonstrates that extended contact is most effective when individuals live in segregated neighborhoods having only few, or no, direct friendships with outgroup members. Moreover, by including measures of attitudes and behavioral intentions the authors showed the broader impact of these forms of contact, and, by assessing attitude certainty as one dimension of attitude strength, they tested whether extended contact can lead not only to more positive but also to stronger outgroup orientations. Cross-sectional data showed that direct contact was more strongly related to attitude certainty than was extended contact, but longitudinal data showed both forms of contact affected attitude certainty in the long run.

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