The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Our research focuses on the social-psychological study of intergroup conflict, with a particular focus on intergroup contact. Below are some of the questions we are interested in. Our research covers many parts of the world, and we use experimental, cross sectional and longitudinal data.

Our research is international
Our research is international

Our research group aims to investigate questions such as:

  • When and how does intergroup contact improve relations between groups?
  • Can intergroup contact help groups to forgive each other for past behaviour? Will it work in times of war?
  • When is an encounter with one member of an outgroup enough to change our attitudes towards the whole group?
  • The Secondary Transfer Effect: Can improved relations with one outgroup (e.g. Muslims) transfer to other outgroups (e.g. homosexuals)?
  • Extended Contact: Why does knowing someone who knows someone from the outgroup reduce prejudice, even when we don’t have direct contact?
  • To what extent are the processes involved in intergroup contact emotional, cognitive and behavioural?
  • What comes first, attitudes or contact? Do only certain kinds of people make contact with outgroups? Will some people NEVER become less prejudiced?
  • Does contact ever INCREASE prejudice?
  • Are changes in attitudes towards outgroups maintained over time?
  • What are the implications of intergroup contact research for social policy? Which is better for social cohesion, segregated or integrated communities?
It has sometimes been held that merely by assembling people without regard for race, colour, religion, or national origin, we can thereby destroy stereotypes and develop friendly attitudes. The case is not so simple - Allport, 1954

Selected publications

Research Vacancies

Prospective graduate students who are interested in applying to join the Centre may contact Professor Miles Hewstone, via his PA: Rachel New,  by email at in the first instance.


Key Words

Useful weblinks

Schematic of contact variables

The members of The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict December 2015

Related research themes