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The malleability of stigmatising attitudes: combining imagined social contact with implicit attitude feedback

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/08/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Volume19
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)175-195
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/08/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Research is reported that examines whether imagined social contact combined with implicit attitude feedback may be an effective intervention for inducing changes in attitudes toward mental ill health. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) captured participants’ implicit attitudes toward individuals with a mental illness and provided a measure of attitude bias. Forty-eight participants (17 male, 95.8% White British) were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: (1) Imagined social contact with implicit attitude feedback, (2) imagined social contact without feedback, (3) control with feedback, and (4) control without feedback. This resulted in a data set detailing 12,288 implicit responses, with each participant completing 256 IRAP trials. Participants then completed an attitude change assessment 24 hours later. Results revealed that imagined social contact was successful in changing implicit attitudes, with the addition of implicit attitude feedback further strengthening participants’ positive attitudes toward mental ill health. Explicit attitudes remained unaffected. These findings are the first to highlight the practical importance of combining imagined social contact with implicit attitude feedback to improve attitudes toward out-groups who are stigmatized.