PREJUDICE REDUCTION THROUGH CONTACT THEORY AND COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
Samantha White, Lauren Coursey, Jared Kenworthy.
College of Science, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.
Over the past few decades, researchers have examined various methods of reducing prejudice. Although both contact research and dissonance research have each addressed prejudice reduction separately, no researcher has yet developed a way to combine cognitive dissonance and contact theory methods as a means of reducing prejudice. In this study, over 500 undergraduates from The University of Texas at Arlington completed a prescreening survey that measured attitudes toward Muslims. Thirteen men and 30 women that scored below average on Muslim attitudes were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a high-choice condition (participants had a choice of choosing an out-group partner), or a low-choice condition (participants were assigned an out-group partner). Participants were then asked to fill out a demographic survey, fill out a schedule sheet for the partner interaction, and complete the main dependent variables. We expected that those who chose to work with an out-group member would reduce their prejudice more so than those who did not choose to work with an out-group member. Muslim attitude scales were compared between high-choice (M = 6.78, SD = 1.24) and low-choice conditions (M = 6.60, SD = 1.85), but there are not yet any significant differences, t(41) = -.257, p = .190, d = -0.0058. However, the data collection is ongoing, and currently the results are not yet significant.