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Imagining contact reduces prejudice in pre-school children.

Birtel, M.D. and Di Bernardo, A. and Stathi, S. and Crisp, R. J. and Cadamuro, A. and Vezzali, L. (2019) 'Imagining contact reduces prejudice in pre-school children.', Social development., 28 (4). 1054-1073.


We examined the effectiveness of an imagery‐based strategy designed to reduce prejudice in pre‐schoolers in Italy. Three studies involving different target groups (disabled children, Black children) were conducted within Italian pre‐schools. Children (4‐6 years) were asked to imagine and draw meeting an outgroup member (Studies 1 and 2) or to imagine writing a letter to an outgroup member (Study 3). Results revealed that pre‐schoolers in the experimental condition, relative to a control group, reported less intergroup bias in form of contact intentions and resource allocation as well as greater behavioral inclusiveness; effects were mediated by improved intergroup attitudes. Our findings are important in understanding ways that promote positive intergroup relations in ways that align with the interests of young children.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Birtel, M.D., Di Bernardo, A. Stathi, S., Crisp, R. J., Cadamuro, A. & Vezzali, L. (2019). Imagining Contact Reduces Prejudice in Pre-School Children. Social Development 28(4): 1054-1073, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:13 February 2019
Date deposited:15 February 2019
Date of first online publication:21 March 2019
Date first made open access:21 March 2020

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