Micro-ecological behaviour and intergroup contact

Shelley McKeown, Ed Cairns, Maurice Stringer, Gordon Rae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Research evaluating intergroup contact has tended to rely on self-report measures. Drawing on recent micro-ecological research, the two studies reported here used a multi-method approach to examine contact in a more holistic fashion. This involved the measurement of observable behavior at the micro-level, intergroup attitudes via infrahumanization and focus groups. Participants were taking part in a community intervention program in Northern Ireland. We conclude that micro-ecological behavior is not necessarily indicative of outgroup attitudes. Although behavior and attitudes changed in line with one another in Study 1 (less aggregation and significantly less infrahumanization), there were no infrahumanization differences between those who sat beside an outgroup member and those who did not. Importantly, the work presented here illustrates a unique method that allows micro-ecological behavioral observations to be made for the first time in non-racial settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-358
JournalThe Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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