E-contact in online poker: examining the role of negative and positive intergroup contact and economic gains vs. losses on implicit and explicit outgroup attitudes (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
The internet has become indispensable to daily living; we spend roughly a third of our day online. A popular online activity is to play games such as online poker. In online poker, the only readily available information available about players is their nationality. This creates a prime environment to study intergroup contact. In the current research, Study 1 examined how experiencing negative, positive, or no intergroup contact at an online poker table affected explicit and implicit attitudes, emotions, secondary transfer effects (STE) of attitudes towards another outgroup, and underlying cognitive processes. Study 2 examined how negative contact, positive contact and economic gains and losses affected the same outcomes as in Study 1. Across two studies, 405 participants played a game of online poker where they experienced either positive or negative contact (or no messages at all) with a Brazilian outgroup member in the chat box. In Study 1, participants in the negative contact condition reported more negative explicit attitudes towards Brazilians compared to the positive and control conditions. However, for implicit attitudes, there was no difference between the experimental conditions, with these conditions displaying more implicit bias than the control condition. No STE were observed when Russians were the secondary outgroup. Similarly, in Study 2, participants who experienced negative intergroup contact displayed less favourable outgroup attitudes at an explicit level, but there was no difference between the negative and positive contact conditions on implicit bias. However, those that lost money, irrespective of valence of contact displayed greater implicit bias compared to the winning condition. Gains vs. losses did not affect explicit attitudes though. There were STE when Argentinians were the outgroup, with explicit attitude results mirroring that of the primary Brazilian outgroup. Emotions did not mediate the effect of contact on explicit and implicit attitudes in either study and finally, across both studies, contact valence or gains/losses did not seem to affect N400 activity as measured via electroencephalography (EEG). In conclusion, this research demonstrates the potency of online contact that is casual, competitive, and negative, to heighten explicit prejudice, and the potential for economic gains and losses to affect implicit attitudes.
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