# Contact Theory

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## WHAT IS IT?

This project is a model of Contact Theory/Hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_hypothesis) which posits that contact is the best way to reduce prejudice and conflict between minority and majority group members is through interpersonal contact. According to contact theory, even indirect contact, contact through media or even imagined positive contact can help reduce prejudice and stereotyping ! This model shows how different aspects of open-mindedness and personal preference also play into improved intergroup relations.

The model simulates the behaviour of two types of groups of people in a not too far off world. Each of these groups, the violet and red people, are made up of happy individuals that get along with members of their own group. However, each group exhibits different preferences with respect to their willingness to travel (wanderlust), their preference for who they hang out with (homophily), and how much they dislike or fear others in their world (xenophobia). Because of their strong preferences, each group also shows different degrees of willingness to change their minds unless they have real world encounters to base their opinions on. That is, each person has a set of perconceived ideas about "others" in their world. Curiosity and fear around ideas of travel and differences influence how people experience their world, their attitudes, and their social networks.

## HOW IT WORKS

SETUP: Create 2 populations (squares and circles) based on POPULATION sliders. The populations appears in random locations. Squares start out red. Circles start out violet.

GO: Check out surroundings based on XENO-VISION Turn towards preferred peer based on INTERGROUP PREFERENCE (Self, Other or Random) Move based on WANDERLUST Have an ENCOUNTER...

MAKE CONTACT: Look around at all neighbors Check out if there are any OTHERS Remember if encounter is POSITIVE or NEGATIVE Change color ONE HUE from original towards GREEN if memory of POSITIVE encounters = CHANGE RESISTANCE Change color ONE HUE back towards original if memory of NEGATIVE encounters = CHANGE RESISTANCE Remember # of total encounters with OTHERS

## HOW TO USE IT

Each group has a couple of variables that will affect how it explores and interacts in the world:

POPULATION: Number of agents in that group between 25 - 300

WANDERLUST: How much they like to travel and explore the terrain

INTERGROUP PREF (preference): Who they like to hang with... folks like themselves (homophily), different folks (xenophilia) or whoever (random).

XENO-VISION: Radius of how far agents can see. Affects how they make decisions based on their intergroup preference to meet or avoid others.

CHANGE RESISTANCE: How many encounters they will need to change their attitude about the other group, between 1-10.

Using the LIKELY-NEGATIVE slider on top, you can set how likely the encounter between members of the two groups is to be negative, from 1-100.

## THINGS TO NOTICE

Check out how much each group is changing on the monitors and on the screen with its colors. When agents are green, they have pretty liberal / positive views of the other group.

Check out how many encounters each group has had and how that corresponds to its level of attitudinal change.

## THINGS TO TRY

The DEFAULT setting would probably be 50% negative likely encounter, both groups set to random preference, medium wanderlust, xeno-vision and change resistance. Try that with equal populations.

Try setting one group to MAX (300) population and another to MINIMUM (25). What would you need to do to have the majority change its views about the minority group?

Try setting the likelihood of NEGATIVE ENCOUNTER to something really high - 90%. This could simulate the negative representations in the media! (FACT: Only 1% of stories about youth are about good deeds.)

## EXTENDING THE MODEL

According to CONTACT THEORY HYPOTHESIS, positive intergroup contact results under 4 conditions:

- Equal Status, both groups taken into an equal status relationship,
- Common Goals, both groups work on a problem/task and share this as a common goal, sometimes called a superordinate goal,
- Intergroup Cooperation, both groups must work together for their common goals without competition,
- Support of authorities, law or customs, some authority that both groups acknowledge and define social norms that support the contact and interactions between the groups and members.

How can these be coded in?

How can we add the impacts of media representation more intentionally?

How can we represent the way the groups see each other?

What if the groups started with a geographic (patch) preference?

What if the two groups had some fixed identity features?

Make the two groups have collective memory that they transfer to agents like themselves?

Make the agents hang out with people who are like them but also THINK like them (color). If groups have collective memory, what would it take to change perceptions of a group of a long history of negative contacts?

## NETLOGO FEATURES

(interesting or unusual features of NetLogo that the model uses, particularly in the Code tab; or where workarounds were needed for missing features)

## RELATED MODELS

Segregation Mimicry

## CREDITS AND REFERENCES

T.F. Pettigrew and L.R. Tropp (2006) A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 90(5), May 2006, 751-783.

## Comments and Questions

breed [ squares square ] breed [ circles circle ] globals [ circles-change squares-change ;; maybe average % of change of squares and circles? circles-encounters squares-encounters ] turtles-own [ percentage-change ;; percentage of color change - 0-100% possible positive-encounters ;; memory of positive-encounters - coded 1 negative-encounters ;; memory of negative-encounters - coded 2 total-contacts ;; cumulative memory of encounters with others ] to setup clear-all setup-turtles reset-ticks end to setup-turtles ;;set pen-mode down - maybe try to trace their paths? set-default-shape squares "sq-face" set-default-shape circles "face happy" create-squares square-population [set color 15 set positive-encounters 0 set negative-encounters 0 set total-contacts 0 ] create-circles circle-population [set color 115 set positive-encounters 0 set negative-encounters 0 set total-contacts 0 ] ask turtles [setxy random-xcor random-ycor] end to go ;;if all? turtles [nested?] [ stop ] ask squares [ squares-go squares-contact ] ask circles [ circles-go circles-contact ] tick end to squares-go let similar other squares in-radius sq-xeno-vision let others circles in-radius sq-xeno-vision if sq-intergroup-pref = "self" AND any? similar [ face one-of similar] if sq-intergroup-pref = "random" [ ;;let neighbor similar OR others face one-of neighbors ] if sq-intergroup-pref = "other" AND any? others [ face one-of others ] fd sq-wanderlust end to circles-go let similar other circles in-radius ci-xeno-vision let others squares in-radius ci-xeno-vision if ci-intergroup-pref = "self" AND any? similar [ face one-of similar ] if ci-intergroup-pref = "random" [ ;;let neighbor similar OR others face one-of neighbors ] if ci-intergroup-pref = "other" AND any? others [ face one-of others ] fd ci-wanderlust end to squares-contact let reaction random 100 let others circles in-radius 1 if any? others AND reaction >= likely-negative [set positive-encounters positive-encounters + 1 ] if any? others AND reaction < likely-negative [set negative-encounters negative-encounters + 1 ] let ME self let skin [color] of ME if positive-encounters >= sq-change-resistance AND skin < 65 [ set color skin + 10 set positive-encounters 0 encounter ] if negative-encounters >= sq-change-resistance AND skin > 15 AND skin <= 65 [ set color skin - 10 set negative-encounters 0 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND positive-encounters < sq-change-resistance [ set positive-encounters positive-encounters + 1 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND positive-encounters >= sq-change-resistance [ set positive-encounters 0 ] if skin = 65 AND negative-encounters < sq-change-resistance [ set negative-encounters negative-encounters + 1 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND negative-encounters >= sq-change-resistance [ set negative-encounters 0 ] update-squares update-globals end to circles-contact let reaction random 100 let others squares in-radius 1 if any? others AND reaction >= likely-negative [set positive-encounters positive-encounters + 1 ] if any? others AND reaction < likely-negative [set negative-encounters negative-encounters + 1 ] let ME self let skin [color] of ME if positive-encounters >= ci-change-resistance AND skin > 65 [ set color skin - 10 set positive-encounters 0 encounter ] if negative-encounters >= ci-change-resistance AND skin >= 65 AND skin < 115 [ set color skin + 10 set negative-encounters 0 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND positive-encounters < ci-change-resistance [ set positive-encounters positive-encounters + 1 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND positive-encounters >= ci-change-resistance [ set positive-encounters 0 ] if skin = 65 AND negative-encounters < ci-change-resistance [ set negative-encounters negative-encounters + 1 encounter ] if skin = 65 AND negative-encounters >= ci-change-resistance [ set negative-encounters 0 ] update-circles update-globals end to encounter set total-contacts total-contacts + 1 end to update-circles ask circles [ let original-color 115 let newcolor color set percentage-change abs (newcolor - original-color) ] end to update-squares ask squares [ let original-color 15 let newcolor color set percentage-change abs (newcolor - original-color) ] end to update-globals set circles-change abs mean [percentage-change] of circles * 2 ;; sum of each circles color-change / number of circles set squares-change abs mean [percentage-change] of squares * 2;; set circles-encounters mean [total-contacts] of circles set squares-encounters mean [total-contacts] of squares end

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## Attached files

File | Type | Description | Last updated | |
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Contact Theory.png | preview | Preview for 'Contact Theory' | about 6 years ago, by Natalia Smirnov | Download |

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