Dealing in hope: Does observing hope expressions increase conciliatory attitudes in intergroup conflict?

Smadar Cohen-Chen*, Gerben A. van Kleef, Richard J. Crisp, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The emotion of hope has been found to play a pivotal role in intergroup conflict resolution processes. As a positive and motivating emotion, prominent group members, such as group leaders or representatives may wish to instill hope among ingroup members. One method that can be employed to instill hope is to express hope as confirmation for a specific path's merit. Three studies examined the effect of ingroup hope expressions on intergroup attitudes in conflict. Study 1 was conducted within the context of student-government relations in the UK. Results demonstrated that expressions of high hope (vs. low hope) increased support for an opportunity for conflict resolution by instilling hope among ingroup members. In Study 2 we used a fictitious conflict scenario regarding a conflict with an invading alien nation, and found that the leader's hope expressions increased support for a proposal compared to expressions of positive expectations in light of the proposal. Lastly, Study 3 was conducted within the extreme and intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Findings showed that ideology moderated the effect such that expressions of hope increased support for the proposal via experienced hope in ingroup members. However, this effect was only found among Leftists, while Rightists were not affected. Findings indicate the importance of hope expressions in shaping attitudes toward opportunities for intergroup conflict resolution, while emphasizing the importance of understanding how observers interpret such expressions and are affected by them.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by Grant 335607 awarded by the European Research Council to the fourth author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Conflict resolution
  • Emotional expressions
  • Emotions
  • Hope


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