Capozza, D., Falvo, R., Di Bernardo, G. A., Vezzali, L., & Visintin, E. P.
Intergroup contact as a strategy to improve humanness attributions: A review of studies
Over the past 15 years, outgroup dehumanization has been a topic of great interest in the field of social psychology. Researchers have in particular investigated the different forms of dehumanization and its detrimental consequences; however, little attention has been paid to the problem of how dehumanizing perceptions can be reduced. In this article, we review the studies that investigate whether intergroup contact may be related to more favorable humanity attributions. Different forms of contact have been considered: direct and imagined contact, cross-group friendships, and extended contact. Evidence regarding direct and imagined contact allows us to conclude that contact attenuates infrahumanization and favors outgroup humanization. For direct and indirect cross-group friendships, in contrast, the association between contact and ameliorated humanity attributions is only supported by correlational evidence. We conclude with a discussion of the practical implications of the studies reviewed, and propose directions for future research.Back