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Does Travel Destroy Prejudice?

90730856545011e38b281207276a6c3f_8Prejudice, bigotry, ignorance — is there a way to curb them or to perhaps nip them in the bud before they anchor their thick and ugly roots? Mark Twain seemed to think so, and it’s his thought process that ignited my passion for family travel.

An excerpt from Twain’s book, Innocents Abroad, states:

‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

I was thrilled to come across this article the other day that remarked on Twain’s theory. My husband and I have never been prejudicial people and our minds are as open as the sky when it comes to society and life in general, however I will say that after every trip we’ve taken as a family, I’ve noticed a change in my children. They’ve become more independent, more curious and less fearful of others. They are still very young, but it’s been amazing to see those changes blossom after traveling to different locations. Funnily enough, it turns out my children are not the only ones who have become more trusting after returning from their travels.

The lead researcher, Jiyin Cao of Northwestern University, spoke to PsyPost and said that he decided to test the assumption as to whether travel changes people for the better.

The result:

“Across five studies, using different research methods including a longitudinal study, we found that breadth but not depth of foreign experiences increases generalized trust,” Cao added. “In other words, the more countries one travels, the more trusting one is. Breadth is important here, because breadth provides a great level of diversity in people’s foreign travel experiences, allowing them to reach such a generalized assumption.”

The study is fascinating and goes into further depth, providing details about their various experiments. It seems as though visiting more of the world, rather than spending extensive periods in one location, is more important and provides a larger benefit — especially if those locations are unfamiliar and unlike your home town.

You can read all about the results of this study on Sage Journals and by visiting The Raw Story, where they provide further insight into the details and summarize the experiments.
Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

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