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Interracial Friendships Reduce Prejudice

Update Date: Jun 21, 2014 12:23 AM EDT

Making friends outside your race can help reduce prejudice, according to new research.

Researchers from Wayne State University found that the physical presence of romantic partners in intergroup friendships. Researchers explain that intergroup friendships mean making friends with different racial and ethnic groups, religious groups or sexual interactions. The findings revealed that having intergroup friendships could help enhance interactions with people who are different from them.

Researchers said that couples that interacted with those of another ethnicity had a greater positive attitude toward the other group than to same-race couple interactions.

Participants were asked to spend time to answer and ask questions gradually became more intimate through self-disclosure over time.

"Our research found that there were more positive attitudes towards answering questions when there were intergroup couples interacting versus same-group couples or individuals," lead researcher Keith Welker, Ph.D., a Wayne State graduate student, said in a news release. "Our findings suggest that interacting in an intergroup context with the presence of your romantic partner is something that can improve your attitude toward other groups significantly rather than just interacting alone. This is because romantic partners can alleviate threats, help improve conversations and create something you have in common with other couples."

The findings are published online in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

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