General Contact Hypothesis (500 words)

General Contact Hypothesis
One prominent theory of conflict de-escalation and prejudice reduction is called the General Contact Hypothesis, sometimes also referred to as the Intergroup Contact Theory. According to this theory, mere interpersonal contact between groups, given that certain conditions are met, may lead to information sharing, greater understanding, and reduction of prejudice. While this theory has some intuitive appeal, a wealth of human experience—buttressed by research data—has suggested that contact is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reducing intergroup conflict; that is, while contact is necessary, it must be structured in particular ways to prove sufficient for reducing intergroup conflict.

Imagine that you have been called in to mediate an intergroup conflict between two groups. The group leaders are puzzled because they have brought the two groups together, believing that contact will reduce the conflict, only to find that the contact is actually increasing the intergroup conflict.

Using this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might apply the General Contact Hypothesis to this situation and use it to promote a resolution.

In this essay, please follow the instructions as below:
1. Give a summary of the General Contact Hypothesis.
2. Explain how you might apply the General Contact Hypothesis to promote the effectiveness of contact as an agent of intergroup conflict resolution.
3. Describe three strategies you might use to structure the contact between these two groups to promote reconciliation.

e sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.


  • Binder, J., Zagefka, H., Brown, R., Funke, F., Kessler, T., Mummendey, A., & … Leyens, J. (2009). Does contact reduce prejudice or does prejudice reduce contact? A longitudinal test of the contact hypothesis among majority and minority groups in three European countries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(4), 843–856.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Brewer, M. B. (2000). Reducing prejudice through cross-categorization: Effects of multiple social identities. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination (pp. 165–183). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    Reducing prejudice and discrimination by Oskamp, S. Copyright 2000 by TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP LLC – BOOKS. Reprinted by permission of TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP LLC – BOOKS via the Copyright Clearance Center.
  • Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Banker, B. S., Houlette, M., Johnson, K. M., & McGlynn, E. A. (2000). Reducing intergroup conflict: From superordinate goals to decategorization, recategorization, and mutual differentiation. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 4(1), 98–114.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65–85.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2008). How does intergroup contact reduce prejudice? Meta-analytic tests of three mediators. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(6), 922–934.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.