Brannon, T. N., & Walton, G. M. (2013). Enacting cultural interests: How intergroup contact reduces prejudice by sparking interest in an out-group’s culture. Psychological Science, 24(10), 1947-1957.
In the present research, we examined the hypothesis that cues of social connectedness to a member of another social group can spark interest in the group’s culture, and that such interest, when freely enacted, contributes to reductions in intergroup prejudice. In two pilot studies and Experiment 1, we found that extant and desired cross-group friendships and cues of social connectedness to an out-group member predicted increased interest in the target group’s culture. In Experiments 2 and 3, we manipulated cues of social connectedness between non–Latino American participants and a Latino American (i.e., Mexican American) peer and whether participants freely worked with this peer on a Mexican cultural task. This experience reduced the participants’ implicit bias against Latinos, an effect that was mediated by increased cultural engagement, and, 6 months later in an unrelated context, improved intergroup outcomes (e.g., interest in interacting with Mexican Americans; Experiment 4). The Discussion section addresses the inter- and intragroup benefits of policies that encourage people to express and share diverse cultural interests in mainstream settings.