chapter  7
24 Pages

Intergroup contact across time: beyond initial contact

ByTESSA V. WEST, JOHN F. DOVIDIO

Intergroup friendship has a profound effect on improving intergroup relations. Yet, compared to the substantial literature on intergroup contact generally, little is known about the dynamics of intergroup interaction beyond initial contact, how people form friendships across group lines, and how this process might differ from developing intragroup friendships. Indeed, interracial interactions are fundamentally distinct from intraracial ones in terms of the cognitive, affective, perceptual, and behavioral processes. This chapter examines the dynamics of anticipated and initial intergroup interaction and extends this work to investigations of contact between roommates of the same or different race/ethnicity over time. We present empirical evidence of how these dynamics change as a function of the orientations that people bring to these interactions and emergent qualities of the social exchange across multiple stages during intergroup, compared to intragroup, dyadic interactions. We conclude by identifying avenues for future research to help illuminate the underlying psychological mechanisms that shape interpersonal perceptions and, ultimately, intergroup relations.