Discussion Papers 2021


"Personal Intergroup Contact Between Different Groups of Ex-Combatants and Civilians: Evidence from a Behavioural Experiment in Rwanda"

Author Name

Onuki, Mayuko, Keitaro Aoyagi and Yoshito Takasaki


August 2021

Full Paper PDF file


Though personal intergroup contact is known to predict positive intergroup outcomes, little is known about a condition that elicits the kind of positive personal contact that reduces prejudice in real-world post-conflict societies. Using a behavioural experiment, the present study examined the effect of face-to-face personal contact between ex-combatants of three different groups, that are former adversaries, and civilians with disabilities in Rwanda. A total of 444 participants were randomly assigned to intergroup or intragroup pairs to interact under personal and task-focused contact conditions, and their person preference, evaluative bias, and impressions of those contact partners were compared against others with no direct contact. Between ex-combatants of the national army and civilians, task-focused contact generally resulted in better intergroup outcomes than personal contact or no contact. The trend is reversed for the task-focused versus personal contact between the three groups of ex-combatants. Implications for personal contact in real-world post-conflict societies are discussed.

Keywords: intergroup contact, personalization, post-conflict society, reconciliation, common identity