Fiona A. White

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Fiona A. White
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Alma materUniversity of Sydney

Fiona A. White is a professor of social psychology at the University of Sydney, Australia, and director of the Sydney University Psychology of Intergroup Relations (SUPIR) Lab., and degree coordinator of the Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science (BLAS). She has been a lead author on four editions of Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood..[1] White is internationally recognised as the developer of the E-contact intervention, a synchronous online tool that has been found to reduce anxiety, prejudice and stigma.


White graduated with a PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology, from the School of Psychology, University of Sydney in 1997, where she received the Margaret Stewart Ethics and Behaviour Scholarship. She received her BA (Honours) in Psychology in 1990 from the University of Sydney.


White's research is recognised internationally for advancing new and effective strategies (i.e., cooperative Electronic- or E-contact; dual identity recategorization; perspective taking etc) to promote positive intergroup relations in the short- and long-term. Her most significant contribution to the intergroup relations literature is the development and validation of the E-contact tool, a computer mediated text-based contact that involves a synchronous conversation between members from non-stigmatised and stigmatised groups.[2][3] Fiona has led a number of prejudice and stigma reduction research projects, and has received competitive funding from the Australian Research Council, and ViCHealth.

Research area and topics of interest

E-contact and long-term bias reduction

White's Dual Identity Electronic Contact (DIEC) program was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2009–11). The DIEC program advanced a new conceptual framework proposing that cognitive strategies such as dual identity recategorization provides the necessary mechanism to enhance the benefits of social (i.e., contact) strategies such as E-contact. Here, achieving a common goal via contact is facilitated by the formation of a common identity between minority and majority members over a 9-week classroom program. This conceptual integration was found to successfully promote and sustain (at a 1-year follow-up) bias reduction for both Muslim and Catholic high-school students who were religiously segregated.[4][5][6] Previous contact research had been limited in it theoretical focus, had not experimentally manipulated contact and examined only short-term outcomes.[7]

E-contact and short-term bias reduction

White has also developed and evaluated a new lab-based version of E-contact which involves participants text chatting in a synchronous 15-minute online interaction with an outgroup member. This new short-form version of E-contact is also theoretically-framed by integrating Allport's facilitating conditions of contact and dual identity recategorization, and has received significant empirical support across multiple social and cultural contexts: amongst sexual minorities[8] [9]; Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland[10]; mentally healthy people and people with schizophrenia[11][12]; and Turkish and Kurdish peoples.[13]

A refocusing on the 'intergroup' nature of prejudice

White's research adopts an intergroup perspective to prejudice, where both ingroup and outgroup voices need be included in interventions in order to successfully reduce intergroup tensions and and conflicts[14]

Honours and CV

For complete list of honours and CV see The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science website.[15]

Prizes and awards

2017: Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Outstanding Mentoring and Leadership, for the success of the Strategic Promotion Advice and Mentoring (SPAM) program. The SPAM program addresses the significant under-representation of women academics that has persisted at senior levels in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) across the higher education sector (Fiona White, Daniela Traini and Robyn Overall).

2013: Office of Learning and Teaching Citations Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning – For developing and evaluating the innovative Constructive Feedback and Plagiarism Reduction Program that engages students’ writing skills and successfully reduced plagiarism rates (Fiona White and Caleb Owens).

2012: Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Support of the Student Experience for the "Constructive Feedback and Plagiarism Reduction Program" conducted in first-year Psychology (Fiona White and Caleb Owens).


  1. White, F., Livesey, D., Hayes, B. (2015). Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood (4e). Australia: Pearson Australia.
  2. White, F., Harvey, L., Abu-Rayya, H. (2015). Improving Intergroup Relations in the Internet Age: A Critical Review. Review of General Psychology,19(2), 129-139.
  3. White, F., Maunder, R., Verrelli, S. (2020). Text-based E-contact: Harnessing cooperative Internet interactions to bridge the social and psychological divide. European Review of Social Psychology, 31(1), 76-119.
  4. White, F., Abu-Rayya, H. (2012). A dual identity-electronic contact (DIEC) experiment promoting short- and long-term intergroup harmony. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(3), 597-608.
  5. White, F., Abu-Rayya, H., Weitzel, C. (2014). Achieving twelve-months of intergroup bias reduction: The dual identity-electronic contact (DIEC) experiment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 38,158-163.
  6. White, F., Abu-Rayya, H., Bliuc, A., Faulkner, N. (2015). Emotion expression and intergroup bias reduction between Muslims and Christians: Long-term Internet contact. Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 435-442.
  7. White, F., Borinca, I., Vezzali, L., Reynolds, K., Blomster Lyshol, J., Verrelli, S., Falomir-Pichastor, J. (2021). Beyond direct contact: The theoretical and societal relevance of indirect contact for improving intergroup relations. Journal of Social Issues, 77, 132-153.
  8. White, F., Verrelli, S., Maunder, R., Kervinen, A. (2019). Using Electronic Contact to Reduce Homonegative Attitudes, Emotions, and Behavioral Intentions Among Heterosexual Women and Men: A Contemporary Extension of the Contact Hypothesis. Journal of Sex Research, 56(9), 1179-1191.
  9. Boccanfuso, E., White, F. A., & Maunder, R.D. (2021). Reducing Transgender Stigma via an E-contact Intervention. Sex Roles, 84, 326–336.
  10. White, F., Turner, R., Verrelli, S., Harvey, L., Hanna, J. (2019). Improving intergroup relations between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland via E-contact. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49(2), 429-438.
  11. Maunder, R., White, F., Verrelli, S. (2019). Modern avenues for intergroup contact: Using E-contact and intergroup emotions to reduce stereotyping and social distancing against people with schizophrenia. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 22(7), 947-963.
  12. Maunder, R., White, F. (2019). Intergroup contact and mental health stigma: A comparative effectiveness meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 72, 1-12.
  13. Bagci, S., Guvensoy, I., Turner, R. N., White, F. A., & Piyale, Z. E. (2021). Investigating the Role of E-contact and Self-disclosure on Improving Turkish-Kurdish Interethnic Relations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 51,577-593.
  14. White, F., Harvey, L., Verrelli, S. (2015). Including Both Voices: A New Bidirectional Framework for Understanding and Improving Intergroup Relations. Australian Psychologist, 50, 421-433.
  15. "Staff Profile". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 2021-08-05.

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