An experiment varying the racial (Black/White) and opinion composition in small-group discussions was conducted with college students (N=357) at three universities to test for effects on the perceived novelty of group members ' contributions to discussion and on participants ' integrative complexity. Results showed that the presence of racial and opinion minorities were both perceived as contributing to novelty. Generally positive effects on integrative complexity were found when the groups had racial and opinion minority members and when members reported having racially diverse friends and classmates. Findings are discussed in terms of social psychological theories of minority influence and social policy implications for affirmative action. The research supports claims about the educational significance of race in higher education, as well as the complexity of its interaction with contextual and individual factors. Effects of Racial Diversity 3 Effects of Racial Diversity on Complex Thinking in College Students Previous research has found that racially diverse educational environments are associated with positive intellectual and social outcomes for college students (Astin, 1993
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