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The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Our research focuses on the social-psychological study of intergroup conflict, with a particular focus on intergroup contact. Below are some of the questions we are interested in. Our research covers many parts of the world, and we use experimental, cross sectional and longitudinal data.

Our research is international
Our research is international

Our research group aims to investigate questions such as:

  • When and how does intergroup contact improve relations between groups?
  • Can intergroup contact help groups to forgive each other for past behaviour? Will it work in times of war?
  • When is an encounter with one member of an outgroup enough to change our attitudes towards the whole group?
  • How do positive and negative contact interact with each other? Can positive experiences buffer the effect of negative contact, for example?
  • How does ethnic segregation in schools affect young people's attitudes towards ethnic groups?
  • The Secondary Transfer Effect: Can improved relations with one outgroup (e.g. Muslims) transfer to other outgroups (e.g. homosexuals)?
  • Extended Contact: Why does knowing someone who knows someone from the outgroup reduce prejudice, even when we don’t have direct contact?
  • To what extent are the processes involved in intergroup contact emotional, cognitive and behavioural?
  • What comes first, attitudes or contact? Do only certain kinds of people make contact with outgroups? Will some people NEVER become less prejudiced?
  • Does contact ever INCREASE prejudice?
  • Are changes in attitudes towards outgroups maintained over time?
  • Which is better for intergroup relations, segregated or integrated communities?
  • How does the context of living in a diverse neighbourhood affect our intergroup relations over time?
It has sometimes been held that merely by assembling people without regard for race, colour, religion, or national origin, we can thereby destroy stereotypes and develop friendly attitudes. The case is not so simple - Allport, 1954

Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes