PerspectiveIntergroup Relations

Can playing together help us live together?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Aug 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6505, pp. 769-770
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9990

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

The contact hypothesis in psychology predicts that prejudice can be reduced when rival groups come together under optimal circumstances of cooperation and equal status. To date, the weight of real-world evidence for this hypothesis comes from self-reported attitudes after self-initiated contact, not from preregistered randomized trials that take intergroup contact as seriously as one would take a potential vaccine for conflict (1, 2). Consequently, on page 866 of this issue, the results of Mousa's (3) new field experiment are breaking news. Mousa intervened in amateur Christian soccer leagues across Northern Iraqi cities affected by ISIS violence. To assess the impact of this ambitious real-world intervention, she randomly assigned Muslim players to half of the teams, measured players' behavior up to 6 months later, and posted her preregistered analysis plan and data alongside the report. Mousa finds that having Muslim teammates causes Christian players to change their behavior for the better toward Muslim players, by including them, working with them, and awarding them material signs of respect. Team-based contact with minority group members reduced prejudiced behavior toward other minority group players.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science