Reducing discrimination towards minorities through animation

João Gregório – M.A. in Social Psychology

Synopsis:

Due to recent events all over the globe, tensions between socioeconomic, ethnic and national groups have become a widespread problem that is becoming more severe everyday. And while diplomats are working towards maintaining peace, it falls to us, researchers and creative minds, to think of effective methods to quell this animosity.

Thus, Social Psychologists have been working on solving intergroup conflicts for the last half a century. It is in this context that Turner, Crisp & Lambert published, in 2007, a revolutionary paper which demonstrated that it is possible to improve one individual’s attitudes towards another group of people, simply by asking that individual to imagine meeting a member of the other group, without actual contact ever taking place. Since then, this line of research has shown very promising and curious results.

My presentation will therefore revolve around this subject, beginning with a brief explanation of how this effect is and how it was discovered, exploring some of its possibilities as a way to achieve solidarity, and I will conclude by pondering on how films (namely animated shorts) can be used to greatly improve the effect of the imagined contact.