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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Interactions between members of different groups are substantially more challenging cognitively, emotionally, and socially than are exchanges between members of the same group. This chapter considers how these processes form a psychological basis for divergent intergroup perspectives. In particular, perceptions of membership in different social categories influence evaluations and expectations of others. These processes create initial biases that may systematically be reinforced by the ways people behave (often automatically and unconsciously) toward others, how they interpret others' behaviors, and the different goals they have in intergroup interaction. Efforts to appear unbiased can also sometimes backfire, contributing to miscommunication and increasing tension. Nevertheless, divergent group perspectives and consequent misunderstandings, tension, and conflict are far from inevitable. Structural, contextual, and psychological interventions can promote mutual understanding and coordinated efforts to improve intergroup relations, reduce conflict, and achieve peace.

Keywords: Discrimination, intergroup bias, intergroup contact, power, prejudice, social categorization

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