Opening closed minds: the combined effects of intergroup contact and need for closure on prejudice

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2011 Apr;37(4):514-28. doi: 10.1177/0146167211399101. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Five studies tested whether need for closure (NFC) moderates the relation between intergroup contact and prejudice toward immigrants. The results consistently showed that intergroup contact was more strongly associated with reduced levels of prejudice among people high in NFC compared to people low in NFC. Studies 1 (N = 138 students) and 2 (N = 294 adults) demonstrated this moderator effect on subtle, modern, and blatant racism. Study 2 also replicated the moderator effect for extended contact. An experimental field study (Study 3; N = 60 students) provided evidence of the causal direction of the moderator effect. Finally, Studies 4 (N = 125 students) and 5 (N = 135 adults) identified intergroup anxiety as the mediator through which the moderator effect influences modern and blatant racism as well as hostile tendencies toward immigrants. The role of motivated cognition in the relation between intergroup contact and prejudice is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Attitude
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychological Distance*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Identification*
  • Students
  • Young Adult