A feature story about how cooking and eating together can help overcome social and cultural differences includes comments from Linda Tropp. She conducted a study in 2011 that found intergroup contact lessens people’s preconceived prejudices by reducing their fear of being threatened and increasing their ability to show empathy towards other groups.
In one study, students were paired with peers from different ethnic backgrounds and participated in friendship activities once a week, for six to eight weeks. These interactions led students to initiate more conversations with other people of different ethnicities. Anxiety and stress levels of the students were shown to decrease as well.