Can Emotion Regulation Change Political Attitudes in Intractable Conflicts? From the Laboratory to the Field

Eran Halperin*, Roni Porat, Maya Tamir, James J. Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations

Abstract

We hypothesized that an adaptive form of emotion regulation-cognitive reappraisal-would decrease negative emotion and increase support for conflict-resolution policies. In Study 1, Israeli participants were invited to a laboratory session in which they were randomly assigned to either a cognitive-reappraisal condition or a control condition; they were then presented with anger-inducing information related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Participants in the reappraisal condition were more supportive of conciliatory policies and less supportive of aggressive policies compared with participants in the control condition. In Study 2, we replicated these findings in responses to a real political event (the recent Palestinian bid for United Nations recognition). When assessed 1 week after training, participants trained in cognitive reappraisal showed greater support for conciliatory policies and less support for aggressive policies toward Palestinians compared with participants in a control condition. These effects persisted when participants were reassessed 5 months after training, and at both time points, negative emotion mediated the effects of reappraisal.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • aggressive behavior
  • cognitive appraisal
  • emotional control
  • emotions
  • intergroup dynamics

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