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© 2014 The British Psychological Society. Over three studies, we identified the phenomenon of ethnic 'resegregation' and assessed the extent to which it was predicted by attributions and norms, among other variables. Study 1, an observational study, showed extensive resegregation between White and Asian students in the cafeteria of a highly mixed school. In Study 2, we found evidence of attributional correspondence for White students, who attributed both their own and the outgroup's contact avoidance more to a lack of interest than fear of rejection, whereas Asian students attributed the outgroup's contact avoidance more to lack of interest, but preferred neither explanation of their own avoidance. In Study 3, we observed a pattern of attributional correspondence among both White and Asian students who attributed both their own and the outgroup's inaction in a hypothetical intergroup cafeteria scenario more to a lack of interest than fear of rejection. Study 3 also demonstrated longitudinally, for both groups, that own lack of interest in the outgroup reduced likelihood of cafeteria contact, whereas having outgroup friends and perceiving positive ingroup norms promoted it. In addition, positive outgroup norms promoted likelihood of cafeteria contact only for Asian students. We discuss how an understanding of the factors driving resegregation is critical to effectively realizing the potential of desegregated settings.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Social Psychology

Publication Date





100 - 124