Imagined intergroup contact facilitates intercultural communication for college students on academic exchange programs

Loris Vezzali, Richard Crisp, Sofia Stathi, Dino Giovannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Imagined intergroup contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009) is a new cognitive intervention designed to improve intergroup relations. In two studies, we examined whether it could also facilitate intercultural communication among international students and host country natives engaged in a college exchange program. In Study 1, international students who had recently arrived in Italy and participated in an imagined contact session displayed increased self-disclosure toward, and improved evaluation of, host country natives. In Study 2, Italian students mentally simulated positive contact with an unknown native from the host country prior to leaving for the exchange. Results from an online questionnaire administered on their return (on average, more than 7 months after the imagery task) revealed that participants who imagined contact reported spending more time with natives during the stay and enhanced outgroup evaluation, via reduced intergroup anxiety. Implications for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of college student exchange programs are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • imagined contact
  • exchange programs
  • intercultural communication
  • intergroup anxiety
  • intergroup relations
  • international students

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