Monday, April 18, 2016

How to change prejudice...for real this time

John Bohannon summarizes the interesting story of two researchers, who after finding that a study on reversing homophobia was based on fake data, went ahead to find that the effect claimed by the fraudulent study was real after all. Broockman and Kalla used a technique developed by the Los Angeles LGBT center:
...the LGBT Center has its canvassers follow one called “analogic perspective taking.” By inviting someone to discuss an experience in which that person was perceived as different and treated unfairly, a canvasser tries to generate sympathy for the suffering of another group—such as gay or transgender people.
Here is the abstract:
Existing research depicts intergroup prejudices as deeply ingrained, requiring intense intervention to lastingly reduce. Here, we show that a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months. We illustrate this potential with a door-to-door canvassing intervention in South Florida targeting antitransgender prejudice. Despite declines in homophobia, transphobia remains pervasive. For the intervention, 56 canvassers went door to door encouraging active perspective-taking with 501 voters at voters’ doorsteps. A randomized trial found that these conversations substantially reduced transphobia, with decreases greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012. These effects persisted for 3 months, and both transgender and nontransgender canvassers were effective. The intervention also increased support for a nondiscrimination law, even after exposing voters to counterarguments.

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