Three studies investigated the conditions under which imagining intergroup contact would lead to greater projection of positive traits to outgroups. In Experiment I (Mexico) imagined contact predicted greater self-outgroup positive trait overlap for majority but not minority ethnic groups. In Experiment 2 (UK) imagined contact led to greater projection of positive traits to the outgroup for lower compared to higher identifiers. In Experiment 3 (UK) imagined contact led to greater projection of positive traits to the outgroup when the self was salient compared to when the outgroup was salient. These findings suggest that the social cognitive consequences of imagined contact are most favorable for intergroup relations when the personal self, but not social self, is salient. We discuss the implications of these findings for a developing model of imagined contact effects
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