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Fostering Contact After Historical Atrocities: The Potential of Moral Exemplars

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Political Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Intergroup contact is a known remedy for complicated intergroup relations. At the same time, contact is rare in postconflict settings. In the present article, we examine whether exposure to narratives about moral exemplars (i.e., members of a perpetrator group who acted morally and in opposition to the passivity or aggression displayed by majority) could increase openness to contact among historical adversaries. In Study 1 (N = 73), presenting members of a historical perpetrator group with information about ingroup moral exemplars led to a decrease of prejudice towards individuals from a historical victim group, which, in turn, resulted in higher openness to contact with them. In Study 2 (N = 100) and 3 (N = 92), exposure to narratives about outgroup moral exemplars in a historically victimized group increased openness to contact with members of a perpetrator group. These effects were mediated by a decrease in prejudice (Studies 2 and 3) and by an increase in trust towards historical perpetrators (Study 2). - Political Psychology, EarlyView.