Perceiving the World Through Group-Colored Glasses: A Perceptual Model of Intergroup Relations

Y. Jenny Xiao, Géraldine Coppin, Jay J. Van Bavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extensive research has investigated societal and behavioral consequences of social group affiliation and identification but has been relatively silent on the role of perception in intergroup relations. We propose the perceptual model of intergroup relations to conceptualize how intergroup relations are grounded in perception. We review the growing literature on how intergroup dynamics shape perception across different sensory modalities and argue that these perceptual processes mediate intergroup relations. The model provides a starting point for social psychologists to study perception as a function of social group dynamics and for perception researchers to consider social influences. We highlight several gaps in the literature and outline areas for future research. Uncovering the role of perception in intergroup relations offers novel insights into the construction of shared reality and may help devise new and unique interventions targeted at the perceptual level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-274
Number of pages20
JournalPsychological Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Intergroup relations; perception; social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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