The wallpaper effect: the contact hypothesis fails for minority group members who live in areas with a high proportion of majority group members

Barlow, Fiona Kate, Hornsey, Matthew J., Thai, Michael, Sengupta, Nikhil K. and Sibley, Chris G. (2013) The wallpaper effect: the contact hypothesis fails for minority group members who live in areas with a high proportion of majority group members. PloS One, 8 12: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082228


Author Barlow, Fiona Kate
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Thai, Michael
Sengupta, Nikhil K.
Sibley, Chris G.
Title The wallpaper effect: the contact hypothesis fails for minority group members who live in areas with a high proportion of majority group members
Journal name PloS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-12-11
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0082228
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 12
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
We aim to provide one explanation for why the link between contact and prejudice is consistently less strong for minority group members than it is for majority group members. Specifically, we propose a “wallpaper effect” such that contact works to increase minority group members' positivity towards majority groups when they live in areas densely populated with other minority group members. Conversely, we suggest that when minority group members live in neighborhoods patterned with majority group faces (as is so often the case), contact will be less transformative. We test this assumption using a large sample of both New Zealander minority (Māori; N = 925) and majority (European; N = 3805) group members. In line with predictions, Māori who lived in minority dense neighborhoods showed the traditional association between contact and increased warmth towards New Zealander Europeans. This relationship, however, was weak or non-existent when they lived in primarily European neighborhoods. Contact effects in majority group members were unaffected by neighborhood composition. The interaction held when controlling for, and was not explained by: gender, income, experiences of harm, cognitions of race-based rejection, or realistic threat. We provide the first evidence to suggest that when it comes to minority group members' intergroup attitudes, contact with majority group members may be a relatively ineffective predictor unless the “wallpaper” of their lives is minority-dense.
Keyword Cross-group friendships
Intergroup contact
Racial discrimination
Interracial Contact
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # e82228

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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