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Title: The secondary transfer effect of contact
Author: Lolliot, Simon Dominic
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis aims to investigate the secondary transfer effect of contact, a phenomenon whereby contact with one outgroup leads to improved attitudes towards other, non-contacted outgroups. While evidence mounts for the existence of secondary transfer effects, its underlying mediation processes remain poorly conceptualised and thus, poorly understood. Thus, in this thesis, I aimed to clarify the conditions under and the processes by which the secondary transfer effect works. Chapter 1 introduces intergroup contact theory and traces its development from the contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954) to the uncovering of the secondary transfer effect. Based on theory from all aspects of intergroup contact research, Chapter 1 proposes a theoretically reformulated approach to understanding the deprovincialization hypothesis by way of (1) diversity beliefs, (2) the development of a multicultural outlook on intergroup relations, and (3) a more nuanced understanding of when ingroup identity is likely to relate ethnocentrically to outgroup attitudes. Point three more specifically looks at the role of social dominance orientation as a moderator of the relationship between ingroup identification and outgroup attitude. Chapter 1 also provides an extension to the attitude generalization hypothesis by considering the role that similarity gradients play. Chapter 2 discusses methodological considerations important to the analysis strategy used throughout the thesis. Six empirical investigations across three contexts—England (Studies 1 and 2), Northern Ireland (Studies 3 and 4) and South Africa (Studies 5 and 6) set out to test the secondary transfer effect and the hypotheses offered in Chapter 1. Across three cross-sectional studies (Studies 1, 2, 3, and 4), a three-wave longitudinal study (Study 5) and an experimental study (Study 6), I was able to show the following: (a) that attitude generalization is a robust mediator of the secondary transfer effect (Studies 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5); (b) similarity gradients qualify the attitude generalization process such that attitudes generalize more strongly between outgroups that are perceived to be similar (Studies 3, 4, and 5); (c) that diversity beliefs (Study 2) and multiculturalism (Study 4), as alternative interpretations of the deprovincialization effect, mediate the secondary transfer effect; (d) social dominance orientation moderates the relationship between ingroup identification and outgroup attitude (Study 3); (e) that the deprovincialization and attitude generalization hypotheses are not independent, but rather interrelated processes of the secondary transfer effect (Studies 2, 3, and 4); (f) that experimentally manipulated forms of extended contact can lead to the secondary transfer effect because group categories and membership are made salient during the extended contact experience (Study 6); and (g) that it is contact that leads to wider attitude generalization rather than less prejudiced people seeking contact from a wider pool of social groups (Study 5). Furthermore, owing to their three-wave longitudinal (Study 5) and experimental (Study 6) designs, these two studies provide the most convincing evidence of the causal nature—from contact to reduced prejudice—of the secondary transfer effect to date. Taken together, these six studies provide a wealth of critical support for the secondary transfer effect as well as for the reformulated deprovincialization and the extended attitude generalization hypotheses.
Supervisor: Hewstone, Miles; Schmid, Katharina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology ; Experimental psychology ; Intergroup conflict ; Social psychology ; Attitudes ; attitude generalization ; the secondary transfer effect ; deprovincialization ; intergroup contact