Miles Hewstone’s research on intergroup relations includes: prejudice and stereotyping, stereotype change, crossed categorization, intergroup contact, the reduction of intergroup conflict, sectarianism in Northern Ireland, and segregation and integration. The antecedents and consequences of intergroup conflict are investigated, as well as how conflict is maintained. Through experimental and survey research it has been found that contact works best when group memberships remain salient, and positive exemplars of outgroups cannot be explained away as ‘exceptions to the rule’ who happen to disconfirm stereotypes. Contact affects a wide range of outcomes (including outgroup attitudes, trust and forgiveness) via mediating affective processes, including reduced anxiety and threat and increased empathy, perspective-taking and self-disclosure. Field studies have been carried out in many countries affected by conflict, especially Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Cyprus. There is a current focus on the impact of ethno-religious diversity.
His work has reached a wide, non-academic audience (e.g. appearing on BBC Radio 4's Analysis, BBC Newsnight, ‘Mind Changers’ and ‘All in the Mind’ on BBC Radio 4, and in The Guardian). He has presented his work to, for example, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, Department for Education, The Challenge Network, the RSA, the Equality and Diversity Forum (Equal Opportunities Commission Review), the Institute for Public Policy Research, Haringey Council, the Commission on Equality and Human Rights, the Housing and Community Cohesion Conference, and The Equalities Review, Cabinet Office; and presented expert testimony to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. He currently serves as an adviser to the Department of Communities and Local Government, Community Attitudes Survey (2007-), and is a Fellow of the Young Foundation.