Emotions and emotion regulation in intractable conflict: Studying emotional processes within a unique context

Eran Halperin*, Ruthie Pliskin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Recent years have seen researchers making initial steps towards drawing on insights from emotion research in the study of intractable intergroup conflicts, but the knowledge on emotion and emotion regulation cannot simply be implanted "as is" into the study of these unique contexts. The present article begins with a discussion of the unique context of intractable conflicts and continues with an examination of the existing knowledge on emotion and emotion regulation in these conflicts. From there it proceeds to detail the contextual factors unique to intractable conflict that must be taken into account when studying these constructs, focusing on three such factors: long-term emotional sentiments, entrenched conflict-supporting ideology, and clinical factors related to the repeated exposure to violence associated with life in conflict. For each factor, the article examines existing theories and empirical knowledge on its influence over the type and magnitude of emotion experienced, the behavioral and political outcome of emotional experiences, and on emotion regulation processes. When existing theory and knowledge are limited, we present theory and propose directions for future research. Finally, the article discusses the challenges facing those wishing to integrate conflict studies and emotion research and benefit fully, theoretically, empirically, and on the applied level from such an interdisciplinary integration.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)119-150
Number of pages32
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Society of Political Psychology.


  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Ideology
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Sentiments
  • Trauma


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