Battling bias

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Science  19 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6339, pp. 686-689
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6339.686

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Prejudice has an ancient history rooted in evolution and human behavior. But recent events have upped the stakes: the war in Syria and outflow of refugees, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, Brexit in the United Kingdom, and the rise of far-right parties in Europe, which many attribute to hostility toward immigrants. If there's one factor that fights prejudice, psychologists say, it's contact, like neighborly greetings and children mixing in school. Engineering such contact can face many hurdles, including language barriers and daunting challenges that arise in countries, such as Germany, that have accepted massive numbers of refugees in a short time. Social psychologists are increasingly studying the best ways to minimize prejudice, testing approaches in the real world and urging governments to apply strategies they believe can make a difference.