Contact Hypothesis
Contact Hypothesis is considered one of the most effective ways to improve relationships and connections between different groups that are going through conflict. The main idea is that through the process of getting to know others, people will learn to break down stereotypes and preconceived notions about other individuals and rid of them.

Gordon W. Allport developed the concept of Contact Hypothesis in 1954. It is also known as Intergroup Contact Theory. Allport asserts that interpersonal contact with one another is one of the most helpful ways to reduce the amount of prejudice and stereotypical notions that are present among different groups of majorities and minorities. The belief is that the opportunity for individuals to communicate with other people, allows groups to understand different point of views and cultures. Due to the connections made with other members through communication, “An individual's beliefs can be modified by that person coming into contact with a culturally distinct category member and subsequently modifying or elaborating the beliefs about the category as a whole” (Moss). Therefore, this form of therapy will change the attitudes individuals have towards others.

Four requirements that must take place during a session using contact hypothesis include:
1. Equal Status: Both groups are considered with equal status
2. Common Goals: Both groups of people share a superordinate goal, where the common goal is to work on a problem.
3. Acquaintance Potential: All the group members should be given the option to get to know other individuals as friends, rather than people representing their own social group.
4. Support of Authorities, Laws, or Customs: Some source of authority that both groups of people recognize. (family, religious group or government body).

Here is a great link that describes a specific instance, where contact hypothesis was used:

Here is a link that explains in depth contact hypothesis and how it relates to racial issues:

Here is a video that shows a contact hypothesis workshop that was conducted:

Contact Hypothesis at NHS:

Competition and differences among people are often the reasons for rivalry and conflict. Therefore, when different groups of people are given a task to complete together, many of the techniques of contact hypothesis are used. For example, there are many clubs at NHS that have members of all different backgrounds that work together to fundraise and complete tasks as one group.


“Examining the “Contact Hypothesis”.” Peace Players. Peace Players International, 29 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <‌2010/‌11/‌29/‌examining-the-contact-hypothesis/>.
Mckenna, Katelyn, and Yair Amichai-Hambur. “The Contact Hypothesis Reconsidered: Interacting via the Internet .” JCMC Indiana. N.p., 2006. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. <‌vol11/‌issue3/‌amichai-hamburger.html>.
Moss, Simon, Dr. “Intergroup contact hypothesis.” Psycholopedia. N.p., 11 Mar. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <‌Psychlopedia/‌article.asp?id=197>.
Ray, John J. “ RACIAL ATTITUDES AND THE CONTACT HYPOTHESIS .” The Journal of Social Psychology. N.p., 1983. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <‌contact.html>.