Moderating attitudes in times of violence through paradoxical thinking intervention: A field Experiment

Boaz Hameiri*, Roni Porat, Daniel Bar-Tal, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the current paper, we report a large-scale randomized field experiment, conducted among Jewish Israelis during widespread violence. The study examines the effectiveness of a "real world," multichanneled paradoxical thinking intervention, with messages disseminated through various means of communication (i.e., online, billboards, flyers). Over the course of 6 wk, we targeted a small city in the center of Israel whose population is largely rightwing and religious. Based on the paradoxical thinking principles, the intervention involved transmission of messages that are extreme but congruent with the shared Israeli ethos of conflict. To examine the intervention's effectiveness, we conducted a large-scale field experiment (prepost design) in which we sampled participants from the city population (n = 215) and compared them to a control condition (from different places of residence) with similar demographic and political characteristics (n = 320). Importantly, participants were not aware that the intervention was related to the questionnaires they answered. Results showed that even in the midst of a cycle of ongoing violence within the context of one of the most intractable conflicts in the world, the intervention led hawkish participants to decrease their adherence to conflict-supporting attitudes across time. Furthermore, compared with the control condition, hawkish participants that were exposed to the paradoxical thinking intervention expressed less support for aggressive policies that the government should consider as a result of the escalation in violence and more support for conciliatory policies to end the violence and promote a long-lasting agreement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12105-12110
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number43
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • Field experiment
  • Intractable conflict
  • Paradoxical thinking
  • Psychological intervention

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