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

Subsequently published in European Journal of Social Psychology 52(1): 1-17


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