University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The Psychological Experience of Prejudice, Injustice, and Conflict

Faculty member Linda Tropp has examined how exposure to prejudice and discrimination influence the intergroup attitudes of members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Recent findings from experimental studies and nationally representative surveys reveals that perceptions of racial prejudice and discrimination diminish how members of racial minority groups feel toward the racial majority, along with curbing the potentially positive effects of contact between their groups.  

"Man drinking at a water cooler in the street car terminal." [Sign: "Reserved for Colored."] Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. July 1939, Russell Lee, photographer. Location: H-90666 Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-80126.  Public Domain Image: loc.gov/rr/print/list/085_disc.html


   Johanna Vollhardt has studied how the experience of violence affects people’s willingness to engage in, or oppose, future violence.  For example, in a recent study she interviewed Polish Jews who survived a 1968 purge to see how their experience affected their involvement in subsequent political movements (e.g., the Solidarity democracy movement).

Demonstrators carrying banner reading "Solidarnosc" ("Solidarity") the name of the first Polish trade union and the logo of the Solidarity Democracy Movement. .Permission: Jazzebbess, flickr.com/photos/22919544@N06/3843727670/