Intergroup trust in Northern Ireland.
Tam T., Hewstone M., Kenworthy J., Cairns E.
Although prominent political agendas have placed a great deal of importance on building trust in postconflict areas, there has been a lack of empirical research on its role in areas of intergroup conflict. The authors conducted two studies to examine the relationship between trust and intergroup behavioral tendencies-and the potential for intergroup contact to build trust in Northern Ireland. Study 1 showed that outgroup trust mediates the impact of intergroup contact on behavioral tendencies toward the outgroup. Study 2 revealed the importance of trusting the outgroup over simply liking the outgroup; establishing outgroup trust is crucial, as trust is a stronger predictor of behavioral tendencies toward the outgroup than positive attitudes are. Results also demonstrated two mechanisms for increasing outgroup trust-through both direct and extended intergroup contact. These studies further our understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying the formation of intergroup trust and behavior in areas of conflict.