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Intergroup contact is defined as interactions between members of different social
groups. Contact is essentially a communicative process. Empirical evidence suggests that
positive intergroup contact can lead to prejudice reduction, especially for members of the
dominant group. Although intergroup contact is typically defined as face-to-face contact, recent
definitions also include vicarious contact through mass media, interactive media, as well as
extended contact by observing other ingroup members. Intergroup anxiety and other negative
emotions can serve as barriers for contact, especially if the conflict and prejudice is deep-rooted.
However, positive emotions such as empathy and perspective-taking alleviate these effects.
Mediated contact has been especially effective for groups that have no or minimal direct contact
opportunities. Such contact could happen through parasocial contact with likable media persona
or through mediated intergroup contact. Factors such as counterstereotypical exemplars and
critical media literacy training can enhance positive contact effects.
author list (cited authors)
Ramasubramanian, S., & Costantini, R.
The International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology