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Campus Access

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

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Month Degree Awarded



goal orientation, intergroup contact, intergroup anxiety


While intergroup contact is effective in reducing prejudice toward outgroup members, especially under positive conditions (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006), more research is needed to concentrate on how to avoid and overcome negative psychological experiences of intergroup contact, e.g., intergroup anxiety and discomfort (Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002; Stephan & Stephan, 1985). The anxiety and discomfort people feel during intergroup contact largely involve ego concerns (Crocker & Garcia, 2006), or the implications of cross-group interactions for one’s self (see also Vorauer & Kumhyr, 2001). Therefore, it is suggested that one approach to improving peoples’ expectations for and experiences in intergroup contact is setting the goals that would shift their focus away from the self and toward learning about their outgroup partners. Adapting a goal distinction framework from the academic achievement literature (Dweck & Elliot, 1983; Grant & Dweck, 2003), we hypothesized that shifting one’s focus from performance to learning will reduce their negative affect and enhance group members’ expectations for and experiences in intergroup contact. In both studies 1 and 2, participants’ self-reported data did not converge with our original predictions. However, participants’ nonverbal behaviors observed in Study 2 evidenced support for the positive effect of the learning orientation on participants’ experiences in anticipation of and during intergroup contact.

First Advisor

Linda R Tropp