Falvo, R., Capozza, D., Di Bernardo, G. A., & Pagani, A. F.
Can imagined contact favor the “humanization” of the homeless?
Research on imagined contact, a new prejudice-reduction strategy, has demonstrated its beneficial effects on several aspects of intergroup relations. Emerging evidence has shown that this form of contact can positively affect humanness perceptions. The present study examined imagined contact as a means to improve humanity attributions to the homeless ― a stigmatized group strongly dehumanized. Participants (university students) were asked to imagine either a positive interaction with a homeless person or a control scene. Humanity attributions were assessed by using uniquely human (e.g., rationality) and non-uniquely human (e.g., impulsiveness) traits. As expected, after the mentally-simulated encounter, the homeless were perceived as more clearly characterized by uniquely human features. Practical implications of findings are discussed.Back