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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This research reports a novel investigation into the comparative effects of positive and negative direct and extended intergroup contact on intergroup orientations. It tested the generality of the positive–negative asymmetry effect among majority (N = 357) and minority (N = 101) group members in Iceland. Little evidence of asymmetry was observed: the beneficial effects of positive contact were mostly as strong as the detrimental effects of negative contact, for both direct and extended contact. However, evidence was found for alternative interaction models in which positive contact buffers the negative effects of negative contact, and negative contact enhances the benefits of positive contact. These interaction effects were found only for direct contact and principally in the majority group, but were also found for the minority group, though more weakly. No interaction was observed for extended contact. It appeared that differential group salience elicited by positive and negative contact could partly contribute to the explanation of the observed effects, at least in the majority sample.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Social Psychology

Publication Date





784 - 800