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The authors argue that exposure to contextual diversity can prompt more complex, differentiated, and inclusive multiple in-group perceptions, that is, social identity complexity, with positive consequences for intergroup relations. Two unique, large-scale national surveys, involving respondents sampled from neighborhoods of varying degrees of diversity in Germany (Study 1; N = 1,381 drawn from 50 different neighborhoods) and England (Study 2; N = 580 drawn from 192 different neighborhoods), tested the prediction that people living in ethnically diverse neighborhoods would be higher in social identity complexity and, in turn, hold less negative intergroup attitudes. Results confirmed this hypothesis, showing that greater diversity was directly associated with higher social identity complexity (Studies 1 and 2) and indirectly associated with less in-group bias (Studies 1 and 2), and less social distance (Study 2), via social identity complexity. Findings are discussed with regard to their implications for the consequences of diversity for intergroup relations. © The Author(s) 2012.

Original publication




Journal article


Social Psychological and Personality Science

Publication Date





135 - 142