2015 Div. 36 Student Research Award Winners' Proposals

Multiple imagined interactions between Christians and atheists

A new technique called imagined interactions may help social groups reduce separation and discrimination without actually meeting.

By Angelina Iannazzi

In the United States, there is a separation and discrimination between minority and majority groups due to differences in social identities (Martin, 2006; Logan, 2001). Different social groups have to meet on equal grounds in order to change this (Alloport, 1954). A new technique called imagined interactions may help social groups to do this without actually meeting. For this study, atheists and Christians will be recruited and asked to take a pretest that will measure how they feel towards one another's group. Participants will then be put into either a control group or an imagined interaction group. Individuals placed in a control group will be asked to imagine having an interaction with a stranger. Individuals who are placed in an imagined interactions group will either be asked to imagine having an interaction with an out-group member one time or to participate in multiple interactions for the span of a few weeks. The scenario provided for the interactions will have the participant working together with the out-group member on a goal. This then leads to a positive conversation about their beliefs. Participants will then be asked to take a post-test one week after the final interaction is completed.



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