“Can Shared Experiences Reduce Outgroup Prejudice? A Survey Experiment from Myanmar” by Isabel Chew and Jangai Jap
September 22, 2021 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Abstract: One of the biggest challenges facing Myanmar today is its lack of a cohesive national identity. Its colonial legacy and half a century of authoritarian rule has reified group divisions and hardened societal cleavages, leading to negative relations between different groups in Myanmar today. How can outgroup prejudice be reduced? The existing literature proposes three key pathways for prejudice reduction: increased knowledge, reduced anxiety and the role of perspective taking or empathy. The 1 February coup, and the regime’s brutality that followed, is an unprecedented exercise in perspective taking, where the people of Myanmar, regardless of ethnicity or citizenship status, share a common experience of being targeted by the Tatmadaw. Our proposed project thus seeks to understand the extent to which this shared experience is able to ameliorate prejudice against outgroups while serving as a basis for an overarching national identity. To empirically assess how this sense of shared threat is able to affect outgroup attitudes and understandings of national identity in Myanmar, we design an online survey experiment that randomly assigns respondents to either a treatment, placebo, or control group. Resultant outgroup attitudes will be measured using both attitudinal and behavioural indicators.