Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Robert E. Parker

Number of Pages



Situations involving interracial contact and their impact on the reduction of racist attitudes among whites in America will be examined using the contact theory of prejudice. This perspective maintains that evidence for the continued "social distance" between blacks and whites can be quantified in measures of workplace contact. Racial perceptions in schools, churches and neighborhoods provide additional evidence for the contact theory of race relations. Stereotypic perceptions develop when people are unable or unwilling to obtain all the information needed to make accurate judgments about people or situations. Often, the absence of the "total picture" encourages people to fill in the blanks with little reflection. As a result, this lack of reflection engenders negative social predispositions, including feelings of hostility and bigotry toward blacks. To be effective in reducing racial attitudes among whites, interracial contact should take place within an equal social setting. Moreover, the contact must be sustained rather than temporary. Finally, interracial contact needs to be intimate and informal to be effective in reducing stereotypes; This research is significant in several respects. First the content of racial stereotypes has not been the subject of research for some time. Most research on stereotyping focuses upon the judgments individuals make when they have a limited amount of information about a hypothetical person, usually of a minority or "out-group" member in real-life situations; This study is exploratory in that it seeks to extend the literature on stereotypes in order to determine if increased interracial contact by whites will be associated with less-prejudiced persons. In order to test the hypothesis, a survey questionnaire was utilized to measure interracial contact and exposure. The research hypothesized that interracial contact by whites will be associated with positive racial attitudes and less exaggerated stereotypical perceptions; A self-report survey instrument on prejudice was administered to a sample of 135 personnel at the Northwest Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department substation. Preliminary findings suggest contact is a strong predictor of racial attitudes; The format of the dissertation follows the guidelines of the American Psychological Association.


Contact; Impact; Interracial; Interracial Contact; Perceptions; Prejudice Reduction; Stereotypical; Stereotypical Perceptions

Controlled Subject

Ethnology--Study and teaching; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

2283.52 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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