Bringing groups into direct contact is a popular way to break down negative stereotypes but is logistically challenging when groups are geographically distant or otherwise isolated. To address this issue, we present the diary contact technique (DCT), a methodology designed to improve relations between such groups via positive contact. In the DCT, individuals read real diary entries written by a member of their own culture (the in-group) or another culture (the out-group), with the prediction that reading out-group diary entries will reduce stereotyping. In this randomized controlled study, we validate the DCT’s effectiveness in samples of Americans and Pakistanis. Individuals who received out-group diaries perceived less cultural distance between the two groups after the intervention, whereas participants who received in-group diaries showed no change in perceived cultural distance. The reductions in perceived cultural distance mediated decreases in negative stereotyping of the out-groups. These results suggest that the DCT is a promising tool for improving relations between cultures.

Behavioral Science and Policy
Sprott School of Business

Jackson, J.C. (Joshua Conrad), Gelfand, M.J. (Michele J.), Ayub, N, & Wheeler, J. (Jasmine). (2019). Together from afar: Introducing a diary contact technique for improving intergroup relations. Behavioral Science and Policy, 5(1), 15–33.