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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Pers Soc Psychol Bull

Publication Date





45 - 59


Attitude, Catholicism, Civil Disorders, Female, Humans, Male, Northern Ireland, Prejudice, Protestantism, Religion and Psychology, Social Distance, Social Identification, Students, Trust, Young Adult