Exposure to Analogous Harmdoing Increases Acknowledgment of Ingroup Transgressions in Intergroup Conflicts

Deborah Shulman, Eran Halperin, Thomas Kessler, Noa Schori-Eyal, Michal Reifen Tagar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A major barrier to the resolution of intergroup conflicts is the reluctance to acknowledge transgressions committed by one’s ingroup toward the outgroup. Existing research demonstrates that individuals are generally motivated to justify ingroup conduct and avoid experiencing guilt and shame about ingroup harmdoing. The current work explores the use of an analogy-based intervention to attenuate motivated reasoning in evaluations of ingroup harmdoing. Overall, across six studies, we find support for our hypothesis that considering a case of harmdoing in a removed context increases acknowledgment of an analogous case of ingroup harmdoing. We further explore why, and under what conditions, the analogy is effective in leading to increased acknowledgment of an ingroup transgression. We find that the effect of the analogy is mediated by the endorsement of moral principles specific to the domain of the transgression, suggesting that the mechanism involves a cognitive process of analogical reasoning.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1649-1664
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • acknowledgment of ingroup harmdoing
  • analogy
  • intergroup conflict
  • moral judgment
  • psychological intervention


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