Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Colloquium Presentation: Dr. Sylvie Graf, on the shaping of social attitudes.

The School of Psychology is proudly hosting a talk by:

Dr. Sylvie Graf
Postdoctoral Fellow
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Title: Prevalent Positive and Prominent Negative Contact with Outgroup Members Maintain Outgroup Attitudes

Date: Thursday 28th March 2013, 12-1pm in Keats Reading Room (AVLG17) (video streaming to AV3 in the Ourimbah library)
If you would like to meet with Dr. Graf, please contact Dr. Mark Rubin (

Abstract: The talk introduces research on the effect of intergroup contact on outgroup attitudes that has been developed with Stefania Paolini and Mark Rubin during my research visit at the University of Newcastle. In this study, we aimed to resolve a contradiction in contemporary intergroup contact literature. While one stream of research emphasizes the role of contact in prejudice reduction (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006), another warns against the higher prominence of negative contact in increasing prejudice (Barlow et al., 2012; Paolini, Harwood, & Rubin, 2010). We argue that the effect of contact on prejudice can be understood only when relative prevalence of positive and negative contact experience and their prominence in shaping outgroup attitudes are considered simultaneously. Using an ecologically valid approach, we show that although negative contact is more prominent in shaping outgroup attitudes, the less influential positive contact occurs more frequently. Our findings imply that the prevalence of positive contact compensates for the prominence of negative contact on outgroup attitudes, making these attitudes possibly difficult to change via contact effects.

Bio: Dr Sylvie Graf is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Her research in the psychology of intergroup relations focuses on intergroup contact and attitudes, stereotypes, and the use of language in intergroup context. At the University of Newcastle, she cooperates with Dr Stefania Paolini and Dr Mark Rubin on determining the interplay between intergroup contact, intergroup attitudes, and personality. Her research visit is partly supported by the University of Newcastle’s Emerging Research Leadership Program awarded to Dr Mark Rubin and Dr Stefania Paolini.