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A study reveals that the level of distrust felt by white British people towards ethnic minorities rises in line with the diversity of their local area. Yet the more day-to-day contact they have with each other, the less threatened they feel and this effectively 'cancels out' the distrust.

The level of ethnic diversity had no significant effect on the trust levels reported by those surveyed from ethnic minorities. The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.

Lead author of the study Dr Katharina Schmid of Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology, said: 'Our research shows that having a diverse population does not result in high levels of distrust when the people in that area are also in regular contact with each other in a positive way. People feel less threatened and so the best way to reinforce trust is to encourage different groups to mix. This social interaction could be at the level of meeting up socially or simply a trip to the corner shop.'

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