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This article reexamines the so-called "wallpaper effect" of intergroup contact, which contends that for minority group members living in areas more densely populated by majority group members, intergroup contact fails to reduce prejudice. We tested this claim in five studies, using data from five countries, two types of contexts, a range of measures, and involving different minority versus majority groups. Using multilevel cross-level interaction models, we considered whether effects of contact on outgroup attitudes were moderated by relative outgroup size. Results failed to replicate the previously reported findings, revealing, by and large, nonsignificant cross-level moderation effects; instead, we witnessed consistent positive contact effects on attitudes. Findings are discussed against the backdrop of recent research on the consequences of diversity, as well as context-based considerations regarding minority versus majority constellations. We also discuss some exceptions to our findings that emerged for some respondent groups and contexts across the five studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Pers Soc Psychol Bull

Publication Date





1268 - 1283


diversity, intergroup contact, outgroup attitudes, outgroup size, wallpaper effect, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Attitude, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Group Processes, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Middle Aged, Minority Groups, Prejudice, Social Environment, Young Adult