Unjudge someone: human library as a tool to reduce prejudice toward stigmatized group members
Bağcı, Çiğdem and Blazhenkova, Olesya (2020) Unjudge someone: human library as a tool to reduce prejudice toward stigmatized group members. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 42 (6). pp. 413-431. ISSN 0197-3533 (Print) 1532-4834 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2020.1792298
Human Library (HL) is a nonprofit community event aimed at increasing awareness and reduction of prejudice toward stigmatized groups in the society. HL implements an unusual methodology in the format of a pretend ‘library’ where HL attendants so-called ‘Readers’ engage in short, face-to-face, direct contact with so-called ‘Books’ who are real individuals from various stigmatized social groups. Although HL has been widely used in various contexts since 2000’s and is recommended as the best practice of integration by European Commission, empirical research testing its effectiveness is limited. Our study presented the findings from four consecutive HL events conducted from 2016 to 2019 in Turkey (total N ¼ 534). Including various control groups, we tested the effectiveness of HL as a direct intergroup contact intervention on affective (trust, empathy), cognitive (knowledge), and behavioral (e.g., willingness to talk to outgroup members) aspects of outgroup attitudes. Findings demonstrated that while overall outgroup attitudes became more positive after HL attendance, unlike merely participating in the event or not attending HL, actual contact (‘Reading a Book’), in particular, improved attitudes toward the target groups. While supporting the overall benefits of HL methodology as a contact intervention, our study demonstrated that HL may be more effective on certain dimensions of attitudes. Practical implications and possible limitations of HL, as well as perspectives for future research were discussed.
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