The Social Psychology of Intergroup Harmony and the Education of Psychologically Literate Citizens

Fiona A. White

in The Psychologically Literate Citizen

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794942
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914500 | DOI:
The Social Psychology of Intergroup Harmony and the Education of Psychologically Literate Citizens

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One essential aspect of the psychologically literate citizen is a student who respects diversity and uses their knowledge in ethically and socially responsible ways to directly benefit their communities (McGovern, Corey, Cranney, et al., 2010). Unfortunately social exclusive thinking and behavior, including issues relating to prejudice and racism, continue to pervade our society at both national and international levels. Thus there remains an enormous challenge for social psychology educators to guide and encourage their undergraduate students to think and act in non-prejudice ways towards all ethnic and religious groups. One teaching strategy is to integrate prejudice reduction theory and empirical evidence into lectures and tutorials. Another more direct teaching strategy, and the focus of this chapter, is to involve undergraduate students in research paradigms, such as the extended and imagined contact paradigms, shown to enhance intergroup harmony and social inclusive thinking. Direct classroom participation by students is a more active strategy to learn intergroup harmony and thus increases the likelihood that students will acquire the appropriate skills needed to be psychologically literate citizens. In addition, these intergroup harmony paradigms and strategies have the added advantage of also contributing to the development of research skills in our students, all of which are essential components of psychological literacy. Finally, our students should be encouraged to share their intergroup harmony knowledge learnt at university with friends and family who may not have had the same educational opportunities—this will ensure that the social inclusiveness message actually becomes a global one.

Keywords: social inclusive thinking; intergroup harmony; prejudice reduction; dual identity; cooperative contact; extended and imagined contact

Chapter.  5956 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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