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Remembrance of Contact Past: When Intergroup Contact Metacognitions Decrease Outgroup Tolerance

Drury, Lisbeth and Birtel, Michèle D. and Randsley de Moura, Georgina and Crisp, Richard J. (2022) 'Remembrance of Contact Past: When Intergroup Contact Metacognitions Decrease Outgroup Tolerance.', Group Processes and Intergroup Relations .


Positive intergroup contact reliably reduces prejudice, yet little is known about the meta-cognitive processes involved in recalling prior contact experiences and their impact on outgroup tolerance. The present research examined whether contact interventions that rely on the recollection of past contact experiences can be susceptible to ease of retrieval effects, and the potential impact on intergroup attitudes. Specifically, we tested whether manipulating the number of contact memories participants were asked to recall (5 vs 1) impacts on outgroup tolerance, and whether this effect is contingent upon participants’ prior contact experiences. Results of two experiments (N = 220) revealed a moderated mediation effect of contact recollection on outgroup tolerance via perceived ease of retrieval, dependent upon levels of prior contact. Recalling more (5) versus fewer (1) contact memories was perceived as more difficult and this in turn decreased tolerance, specifically for individuals low in prior contact. Countering this negative indirect effect, however, recalling more contact experiences had a positive direct effect. Therefore, greater cognitive effort appears to act as a suppressor of the positive effect of contact recall. Our findings provide insight into meta-cognitive processes involved in recalling autobiographical contact memories, and the resulting impact on intergroup relations.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This contribution has been accepted for publication in Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
Date accepted:13 December 2021
Date deposited:17 December 2021
Date of first online publication:11 March 2022
Date first made open access:17 December 2021

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