Can high quality listening predict lower speakers' prejudiced attitudes?

Guy Itzchakov, Netta Weinstein, Nicole Legate, Moty Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Theorizing from humanistic and motivational literatures suggests attitude change may occur because high quality listening facilitates the insight needed to explore and integrate potentially threatening information relevant to the self. By extension, self-insight may enable attitude change as a result of conversations about prejudice. We tested whether high quality listening would predict attitudes related to speakers' prejudices and whether self-insight would mediate this effect. Study 1 (preregistered) examined scripted conversations characterized by high, regular, and poor listening quality. In Study 2, we manipulated high versus regular listening quality in the laboratory as speakers talked about their prejudiced attitudes. Finally, Study 3 (preregistered) used a more robust measure of prejudiced attitudes to test whether perceived social acceptance could be an alternative explanation to Study 2 findings. Across these studies, the exploratory (pilot study and Study 2) and confirmatory (Studies 1 & 3) findings were in line with expectations that high, versus regular and poor, quality listening facilitated lower prejudiced attitudes because it increased self-insight. A meta-analysis of the studies (N = 952) showed that the average effect sizes for high quality listening (vs. comparison conditions) on self-insight, openness to change and prejudiced attitudes were, ds = 1.19, 0.46, 0.32 95%CIs [0.73, 1.51], [0.29, 0.63] [0.12, 0.53], respectively. These results suggest that when having conversations about prejudice, high-quality listening modestly shapes prejudice following conversations about it, and underscore the importance of self-insight and openness to change in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104022
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


This research was funded by a grant Number 460/18 from the Israeli Science Foundation to Dr. Guy Itzchakov. This research was funded by a grant Number 460/18 from the Israeli Science Foundation to Dr. Guy Itzchakov.

FundersFunder number
Israeli Science Foundation
Israel Science Foundation


    • Attitude change
    • Listening
    • Openness to change
    • Prejudice
    • Self-insight


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