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ERIC Number: ED521596
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 155
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-8416-3
The Road to Empathy: Dialogic Pathways for Engaging Diversity and Improving Intergroup Relations
Sorensen, Nicholas A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
This three paper dissertation presents and tests a model for effective intergroup communication. The first paper reviews evidence of positive and negative consequences of interracial contact and presents a theoretical model of intergroup dialogue (IGD) focused on promoting positive and avoiding negative outcomes. The second paper tests the efficacy of this model for promoting a particular positive outcome, intergroup empathy. Moving beyond outcome-based analyses, the third paper examines the process by which IGD increases empathy, using structural equation modeling. Higher education research documents the educational benefits of interracial interaction while research in social psychology reveals a complicated picture, showing both positive and negative effects. It is argued that contact must be both structured and guided in ways that actively prevent negative outcomes while promoting positive outcomes. To that end, a critical-dialogic model of IGD is proposed, centering on communication processes as an avenue toward intergroup relationships, understanding and collaboration. Empirical evidence supporting this model is reviewed and implications for policy are discussed. In 26 field experiments, n =737 students were randomized to a standardized IGD course or to a control group and evaluated pre-post and 1-year later. Participants in IGD demonstrate increased empathy at posttest and one-year later relative to participants in a randomized control group and 13 course comparisons (n =236), which focused on race content but did not make explicit use of a dialogic model. Differences between IGD and course comparison groups were mediated in part by communication processes in dialogue. Effects were similar for members of advantaged and disadvantaged racial/ethnic groups. As part of the larger randomized trial in the second paper, data from participants (n=727) in 26 race and 26 gender dialogues were used to examine how pedagogical features, communication and psychological processes in IGD together foster short- (pre-post) and long-term (1-year later) increases in intergroup empathy. Results demonstrate strong empirical support for the hypothesized process model, with no differences between race and gender dialogues. Together, these papers document both efficacy and process for a critical-dialogic model of intergroup communication, highlighting IGD's unique pedagogy and communication processes as active ingredients for promoting positive intergroup outcomes. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A