Is it better not to talk? Group polarization, extended contact, and perspective taking in eastern democratic Republic of Congo

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Abstract

Mass media are often used to generate discussion for the purpose of conflict reduction. A yearlong field experiment in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) tested the impact of one such media program, a talk show designed to promote listener discussion about intergroup conflict and cooperation. A stratified random half of all nonoverlapping broadcast regions in eastern DRC aired the talk show, which encouraged listeners to consider tolerant opinions and outgroup perspectives, and promoted extended intergroup contact using a related soap opera. The other regions aired the soap opera only. Compared to individuals exposed to the soap opera only, talk show listeners discussed more but were more intolerant, more mindful of grievances, and less likely to aid disliked community members. These results point to some of the limits of discussion and suggest further research on ideas connecting theoretical recommendations for discussion and conflict reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1170-1185
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 8 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

Keywords

  • conflict reduction
  • discussion
  • extended contact
  • group polarization
  • media
  • perspective taking

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