The effects of recalling positive and negative contacts on linguistic discrimination towards migrant people
Prati F., Moscatelli S., Hewstone M., Rubini M.
© 2020 The Authors The present research aims to test whether varying the sequential position in which majority members recall positive and negative contacts with migrants affects the linguistic descriptions of these episodes - in terms of abstraction and valence - provided by majority group members. We also tested whether participants' prior contact with migrants and distance in time of the recalled contact experiences moderated the effect of the recall on linguistic discrimination. Across two experimental studies, evidence consistently showed that participants who recalled first positive and then negative interactions expressed less linguistic discrimination against migrants in the second event recalled, compared to those who recalled two negative interactions. Moreover, participants who reported having fewer positive intergroup experiences expressed less linguistic discrimination against migrants in recalling negative and then positive interactions, compared to recalling two positive interactions. Findings of Study 2 also revealed an effect of the temporal distance of the recalled events, with more beneficial effects of positive-negative sequences of contact when participants retrieved temporally recent compared to distant intergroup encounters. Overall, this research highlights the key role of positive contact in counteracting the effects of negative contact, leading to a reduction in linguistic discrimination.