Technological and analytical advancements in intergroup contact research

Alexander W. O'Donnell, Maria Therese Friehs, Chloe Bracegirdle, Claudia Zúñiga, Susan Ellen Watt, Fiona Kate Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The prolific expansion of intergroup contact research has established that intergroup interactions are tightly linked to social integration. In this review, recent technological and statistical innovations with the potential to advance this body of research are presented. First, concerns over the validity of longitudinal models are discussed before innovative analytical techniques are introduced that explore change over time. Next, intensive repeated measure designs, such as experience sampling approaches, are introduced as opportunities to investigate the day-to-day lives of individuals. Virtual reality technology is then presented as another means to examine naturalistic contact experiences in the laboratory, offering researchers an unrivaled capacity to induce uncommon contact experiences. Finally, we propose that additional sources of contextual data, such as competing media messages, could extend these models in innovative ways by accounting for the time and place surrounding intergroup contact. Similarly, longitudinal social network analysis can provide additional contextual information by considering the broader network environment in which contact occurs. We describe these innovations with the intention of spurring future research that will advance our understanding of how intergroup contact can be used to improve our societies. Thus, we conclude with a discussion on how to bridge divides between researchers and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-196
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • experience sampling methods
  • intergroup contact
  • longitudinal
  • media frames
  • social network analysis
  • virtual reality


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