Parasocial Contact’s Effects on Relations Between Minority Groups in a Multiracial Context
We introduce and examine the effects of parasocial contact between out-groups—or contact that occurs when someone observes a media portrayal of contact between members of two out-groups. Our study examines Hispanic people’s perceptions of Black or Native American out-groups after observing positive contact between a member of one of those groups and a majority group (White) person. Based on social identity theory, we predict that parasocial contact between out-groups will exacerbate prejudice toward the Black out-group, relative to observing African Americans not interacting with the majority out-group. The study’s findings, however, do not support our expectation. All forms of contact improved attitudes about African Americans, even when the stimulus materials featured Native Americans. Results are discussed in terms of the cognitive liberalization potential of contact.