ON BEING BLOG Proximity Leads to Understanding

Proximity Leads to Understanding

Photo by Antoine Robiez

Weekly Column By Sharon Salzberg for On Being
Published July 13th, 2015

It turns out that proximity leads to understanding.

 

According to a recent study, longer-term interpersonal contact between hostile groups counteracts biases by letting people get to know one another as individuals, rather than as parts of a group. Thomas F. Pettigrew, a research professor of social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, analyzed more than 500 studies on intergroup contact. In this research, he found that even in areas where ethnic groups were in conflict and viewed one another through lenses of negative stereotypes, individuals who had close friends within the other group exhibited little or no such prejudice. They seemed to realize the many ways those formerly demonized “others” were “just like me.”

And we can simulate that proximity internally by truly considering another person.

Sharon Salzberg

To read the entire article visit the On Being Blog.


About On Being with Krista Tippett

On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?

On Being is the home of the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. On Being’s listeners, readers, and online communities cross boundaries that separate them in the culture at large: generational, socioeconomic, political, religious. They report that On Being equips them to relate in fresh, new ways to different others, and emboldens them to engage in new kinds of service.

On Being airs on more than 330 public radio stations across the U.S., distributed by American Public Media. The podcast reaches a global audience via SoundCloud.

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of all faiths, no faith, and every background to join the conversation.”


Photo by Antoine Robiez

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