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Intergroup Contact in Virtual Reality: Comparative Effects of Two Contact Strategies on Reducing Prejudice and Increasing Trust Between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 contactVIRT project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the contactVIRT project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "contactVIRT" about.

hence    ingroup    outcomes    versus    scholars    perspective    relatively    seem    scenario    social    respect    protestants    area    offers    communication    successful    identity    prejudice    effectiveness    compare    mechanisms    theoretical    environment    catholic    explored    outgroup    primary    avatar    derive    contexts    superordinate    recategorisation    recognised    overcome    examined    ireland    strategies    mainly    communities    intergroup    vr    clear    trust    producing    framework    scarce    conversely    virtual    group    embodiment    extend    primed    northern    groups    similarity    outgroups    society    lasting    members    identification    outside    protestant    scientists    customization    segregated    inducing    environments    empathy    mixed    faced    technologies    transient    literature    conflict    computer    relative    reducing    combines    mediated    innovative    relevance    interactions    inclusive    safe    grow    confusion    post    strengths    catholics    contact   

Project "contactVIRT" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: BT7 1NN

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 224˙933 €
 EC max contribution 224˙933 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-09-01   to  2021-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST UK (BELFAST) coordinator 224˙933.00


 Project objective

Intergroup contact is widely recognised among social scientists as a means to overcome prejudice between social groups. However, contact is less likely to occur in highly segregated contexts such as the post-conflict society of Northern Ireland, where Catholics and Protestants grow with relatively scarce contact with members outside their own group. Faced with this scenario, scholars have examined computer-mediated contact with relatively successful outcomes. Although virtual reality (VR) technologies have been less fully explored in this respect, it offers great potential for contact by way of avatar communication in a safe environment. The scarce literature in this area has associated VR interactions with empathy and trust towards outgroups. These effects derive mainly from two strategies: perspective taking (e.g., making users to adopt an outgroup avatar), and recategorisation (e.g., inducing an inclusive-superordinate identity among ingroup/outgroup members). Conversely, the mechanisms by which VR-contact may be effective are less clear as other similar studies have obtained mixed results. A potential confusion in the effects produced by avatar customization (similarity identification, embodiment), and the relevance of the primed superordinate identity (transient or lasting) for group members, seem to affect contact outcomes. This proposal has a primary objective of testing the effectiveness of VR-contact in reducing prejudice and promoting trust between members of the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. Specifically, this research will compare the relative strengths of perspective taking versus recategorisation, evaluate the mechanisms of avatar customization, and advance a research framework of contact in VR environments for successful contact effects. Hence, this research will extend the field by producing theoretical advances in an innovative area which combines communication technologies and intergroup contact.

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The information about "CONTACTVIRT" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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