Allophilia [al-oh-fil-ee-u] is having a positive attitude for a group that is not one’s own. The term derived from Greek words meaning ‘liking or love of the other.’ It is a framework for understanding effective intergroup leadership and is conceptualized as a measurable state of mind with tangible consequences. The term was coined by Harvard sociologist Todd L. Pittinsky in 2006, after he was unable to find an antonym for prejudice in any dictionary. Studied by social scientists, allophilia is the antonym of negative prejudices and the antonym of a host of ‘–isms’ (e.g. ageism, sexism, racism), ‘-phobias’ (e.g. homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia), and ‘anti-s’ (e.g. anti-communism, anti-intellectualism).

Allophilia has five statistical factors: affection, comfort, engagement, enthusiasm, kinship. The Allophilia Scale measures each of these factors. 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. In one study, symhedonia (empathic joy) has been shown to be more closely associated with allophilia, while sympathy (empathic sorrow) has been shown to be more strongly associated with prejudice.


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