In sociology, allophilia is having a positive attitude towards outgroup members. The outgroup members can be anyone who possesses characteristics that are different from one's own, such as people of different races, religions, cultures, etc. It is a framework for understanding effective intergroup leadership and is conceptualized as a measurable state of mind with tangible consequences.[1][2]


The term allophilia was coined by Harvard professor Todd Pittinsky in 2006, after he was unable to find an antonym for prejudice in any dictionary.[3][disputed ] The term derived from Greek words meaning "liking or love of the other".[4]

Statistical factors

  1. affection,
  2. comfort,
  3. engagement,
  4. enthusiasm,
  5. kinship.

The allophilia scale measures each of these factors.[5][6] It has been adapted and validated to other languages such as Italian and Spanish, also to various settings, such as to measure positive attitude toward people with dementia, younger and older adults.[7][8][9][10][11]

Allophilia scale

Prejudice and positive intergroup relations

The typical remedy for prejudice is to bring conflicting groups into a state of tolerance. However, tolerance is not the logical antithesis of prejudice, but rather is the midpoint between negative feelings and positive feelings toward others. Allophilia enhancement should serve as complement to prejudice reduction.[12][13][14]

Allophilia predicts positive relationships with outgroup members. For instance, a study in Spain shows that students having higher allophilia had lower social distance toward people with obesity.[15] Besides, positive experience with outgroup members may increase allophilia, as it is shown in a longitudinal study of a cook's tour in Vietnam. In that study, the participants, who were Americans, reported positive feelings toward Vietnamese mirroring Allophilia facets in nearly 10 years after the event.[16]

In one study, symhedonia (experiencing empathic joy) has been shown to be more closely associated with allophilia, while sympathy (experiencing empathic sorrow) has been shown to be more strongly associated with prejudice.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Todd Pittinsky. "Allophilia—a new framework for understanding effective intergroup leadership". Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Positive prejudice: Really loving your neighbour". The Economist. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  3. ^ Ashley Pettus (January 2006). "Otherly Love: The Law of Dissimilars". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  4. ^ Pittinsky, Todd L. (2010). "A two-dimensional model of intergroup leadership: The case of national diversity". American Psychologist. 65 (3): 194–200. doi:10.1037/a0017329. PMID 20350018.
  5. ^ Sheema Khan (28 February 2013). "Allophilia: Beyond tolerance lies true respect". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  6. ^ Pittinsky, T. L.; Rosenthal, S. A.; Montoya, R. M. (2011). "Measuring positive attitudes toward outgroups: Development and validation of the Allophilia Scale". In Tropp, L. R.; Mallett, R. K. (eds.). Moving beyond prejudice reduction: Pathways to positive intergroup relations. American Psychological Association. pp. 41–60. doi:10.1037/12319-002. ISBN 978-1-4338-0928-6.
  7. ^ Alfieri, Sara; Marta, Elena (2011). "Positive attitudes towards the outgroup: adaptation and validation of the allophilia scale" (PDF). TPM. 18 (2): 99–116. hdl:10807/13381.
  8. ^ Alfieri, S.; Marta, E. (2011). "Positive attitudes toward the outgroup: adaptation and validation of the Allophilia scale". Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology. 18: 99–116.
  9. ^ Magallares, Alejandro; Morales, Jose Francisco (31 March 2017). "Spanish adaptation of the Allophilia Scale". Anales de Psicología. 33 (2): 283–291. doi:10.6018/analesps.33.2.242021.
  10. ^ Kinney, Jennifer M; Yamashita, Takashi; Brown, J Scott (17 February 2016). "Measuring positive attitudes toward persons with dementia: A validation of the Allophilia scale". Dementia. 16 (8): 1045–1060. doi:10.1177/1471301216633247. PMID 26892304. S2CID 25179675.
  11. ^ Wagner, Lisa S.; Luger, Tana M. (20 December 2016). "Assessing positive attitudes toward older and younger adults". Educational Gerontology. 43 (3): 147–165. doi:10.1080/03601277.2016.1272890. S2CID 152164924.
  12. ^ a b Pittinsky, Todd L.; Montoya, R. Matthew (2009). "Sympathy e symhedonia nelle relazioni intergruppi. Dispiacere empatico e gioia empatica in rapporto a pregiudizio e allofilia" [Sympathy and symhedonia in intergroup relations: The relationship of empathic sorrow and empathic joy to prejudice and allophilia]. Psicologia Sociale (in Italian). 4 (3): 347–364. doi:10.1482/30689.
  13. ^ Pittinsky, Todd L. (June 2009). "Allophilia: Moving beyond Tolerance in the Classroom". Childhood Education. 85 (4): 212–215. doi:10.1080/00094056.2009.10523083. S2CID 145106950.
  14. ^ Pittinsky, Todd L. (January 2009). "Look Both Ways". Phi Delta Kappan. 90 (5): 363–364. doi:10.1177/003172170909000511. S2CID 143888645.
  15. ^ Magallares, Alejandro (2 May 2017). "Predictors of Social Distance Toward People with Obesity: The Role of Allophilia". International Review of Social Psychology. 30 (1): 102–110. doi:10.5334/irsp.110.
  16. ^ Livert, David (September 2016). "A Cook's Tour Abroad: Long-Term Effects of Intergroup Contact on Positive Outgroup Attitudes". Journal of Social Issues. 72 (3): 524–547. doi:10.1111/josi.12180.