Research Library

Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.


Developmental Stage

Publication Type

For decades, increasing intergroup contact has been the preferred method for improving cooperation between groups. However, even proponents of this approach acknowledge that intergroup contact may not be effective in the context of intractable conflicts. One question is whether anything can be done to increase the impact of intergroup contact on cooperation. In the present study, the research team tested whether changing perceptions of group malleability in a pre-encounter intervention could increase the degree of cooperation during contact encounters. Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli adolescents were randomly assigned either to a condition that taught that groups are malleable or to a coping, control condition. During a subsequent intergroup encounter, the researchers used two behavioral tasks to estimate the levels of cooperation. Results indicated that relative to controls, participants in the group malleability condition showed enhanced cooperation. These findings suggest new avenues for enhancing the impact of contact in the context of intractable conflicts.

This study examined the cues hypothesis, which holds that situational cues, such as a setting’s features and organization, can make individuals vulnerable to social identity threat. Measures of identity threat were collected from male and female math, science, and engineering (MSE) majors who watched an MSE conference video depicting either an unbalanced ratio of men to women or a balanced ratio. Women who viewed the unbalanced video exhibited more cognitive and physiological vigilance, and reported a lower sense of belonging and less desire to participate in the conference, than did women who viewed the gender-balanced video. Men were unaffected by this situational cue.