Changing Stereotypes in Iran and Canada Using Computer Mediated Communication

Mahin Tavakoli (1) , Javad Hatami  (2) , Warren Thorngate (3)
(1) St Francis Xavier University, Canada , Canada
(2) Psychology Department University of Tehran, Jalal-Al-e-Ahmed , Iran, Islamic Republic of
(3) Psychology Department Carleton University , Canada

Abstract

As part of a university course activity, one group of Canadian and one group of Iranian students were randomly partnered to exchange e-mail messages via the Internet for seven weeks. Before beginning their correspondence, all students completed a questionnaire measuring their stereotypes, attitudes, and knowledge about the people and culture of their prospective e-pals. Students from both countries then exchanged messages and photos. In addition, students within each country met with one another to discuss their e-pal exchanges each week. At the end of seven weeks of e-mail exchange, all students again completed the original questionnaire. Pre-posttest changes in attitude, stereotypes, and knowledge about the culture of e-pals show that attitudes of participants towards people from the other country became more favourable, even though their judgments of the similarities between two cultures remained unchanged. Negative stereotypes changed towards more realistic ones. Attitude change was affected by the quality, topic, and frequency of e-mail exchange. Knowledge of participants about different aspects of the other culture became more complex and realistic over time. However, for many aspects of each culture, there was no consistent relationship between raising the level of knowledge and a change in attitude.

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Authors

Mahin Tavakoli
Javad Hatami 
Warren Thorngate
Author Biographies

Mahin Tavakoli, St Francis Xavier University, Canada

Mahin Tavakoli has been a lecturer at Carleton University and an assistant professor of psychology at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada. She is a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) and has served as a psychological consultant for educational television programs in Iran. She is the author and translator of five Persian books, and has published over 50 journal articles.

Javad Hatami , Psychology Department University of Tehran, Jalal-Al-e-Ahmed

Javad Hatami has been an assistant professor of psychology in the Psychology Department of Tehran University and a faculty member of Institute for Cognitive Science Studies. He also works as a TV producer and makes TV documentaries in the social psychology field.

Warren Thorngate, Psychology Department Carleton University

Warren Thorngatehas been a professor in the Psychology Department of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada since 1979. He is the co-founder of the Centre for Social Psychology Research in Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, and has undertaken research and teaching in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Iran. He is an author of 2009 book, Judging Merit.

Tavakoli, M., Hatami , J., & Thorngate, W. (2010). Changing Stereotypes in Iran and Canada Using Computer Mediated Communication. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 10(2), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v10i2.505

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