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The Effect of Imagined Social Contact on Chinese Students' Perceptions of Japanese People

July 29 , 2020 08:19 PM by iGCU

[Author] Dong Wang, Alastair Iain Johnston, Baoyu Wang

[Publisher and date]  The Journal of Conflict Resolution,  July 29th , 2020

[Abstract] Social identity theory (SIT) suggests that perceived identity difference between groups predicts to intergroup conflict, including interstate conflict. Contact theory suggests that social contact between groups can help reduce intergroup conflict. Contact theory, however, has not traditionally focused on perceived identity difference, and it has not been tested much on real-world interstate conflicts. Employing an experimental design, our study tests for the effects of imagined social contact on Chinese students€ generally malign perceptions of identity difference with Japanese people. We find that imagined contact reduces key perceptions of difference by reducing both perceived Japanese malignity and perceived Chinese benignity. This suggests that social contact helps produce new hybrid in-group. By employing SIT, our findings provide a new microfoundation for contact theory, suggest an important process in the creation of security communities, and provide a proof of concept for public policies aimed at large-scale cultural exchanges.

[Additional Information] DOI10.1177/0022002720942824