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The Fragility of Intergroup Relations: Divergent Effects of Delayed Audiovisual Feedback in Intergroup and Intragroup Interaction

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Intergroup interactions between racial or ethnic majority and minority groups are often stressful for members of both groups; however, the dynamic processes that promote or alleviate tension in intergroup interaction remain poorly understood. Here we identify a behavioral mechanism—response delay—that can uniquely contribute to anxiety and promote disengagement from intergroup contact. Minimally acquainted White, Black, and Latino participants engaged in intergroup or intragroup dyadic conversation either in real time or with a subtle temporal disruption (1-s delay) in audiovisual feedback. Whereas intergroup dyads reported greater anxiety and less interest in contact after engaging in delayed conversation than after engaging in real-time conversation, intragroup dyads reported less anxiety in the delay condition than they did after interacting in real time. These findings have theoretical and practical implications for understanding intergroup communication and social dynamics and for promoting positive intergroup contact.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Yale University and 2: University of Connecticut

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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