Micro-ecological behaviour and intergroup contact
McKeown, Shelley; Cairns, Ed; Stringer, Maurice; Rae, Gordon
Citation: McKeown , S , Cairns , E , Stringer , M & Rae , G 2012 , ' Micro-ecological behaviour and intergroup contact ' Journal of Social Psychology , vol 152 , no. 3 , pp. 340-358 .
Research evaluating intergroup contact has tended to rely on self-report measures. Drawing on recent micro-ecological research, the two studies reported here used a multi-method approach to examine contact in a more holistic fashion. This involved the measurement of observable behavior at the micro-level, intergroup attitudes via infrahumanization and focus groups. Participants were taking part in a community intervention program in Northern Ireland. We conclude that micro-ecological behavior is not necessarily indicative of outgroup attitudes. Although behavior and attitudes changed in line with one another in Study 1 (less aggregation and significantly less infrahumanization), there were no infrahumanization differences between those who sat beside an outgroup member and those who did not. Importantly, the work presented here illustrates a unique method that allows micro-ecological behavioral observations to be made for the first time in non-racial settings.