Socio-psychological barriers to peace making: An empirical examination within the Israeli Jewish Society

Eran Halperin*, Daniel Bar-Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Socio-psychological barriers play a major role in the continuation of intractable conflicts. They are responsible for the socio-psychological closure that resists and prevents the entertainment of alternative information that could potentially facilitate the acceptance of ideas advancing peacemaking processes. In an attempt to validate a process model that depicts the functioning of the socio-psychological barriers to conflict resolution, an empirical study was conducted among a nationwide representative sample of Jews in Israel, within the context of the Middle Eastern conflict. The reported study utilized a large scale survey, based on a nationwide representative sample of Israeli Jews who were asked to respond to a questionnaire which included the model's selected variables. As hypothesized, the results showed a path leading from general worldviews (e.g. General values, Right Wing Authoritarianism, Implicit theories about groups) to openness to new information and readiness to compromise through the mediation of the conflict-related societal beliefs (e.g. victimhood, delegitimization). These results indicate that closure to new information that may shed new light on both the rival and the conflict emerges as a crucial factor in the maintenance of society members' non-compromising views. The theoretical as well as the applied implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)637-651
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible in part by the support of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research. The research was also supported by a Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin grant provided to the first author by the United States–Israel Educational Foundation.


  • barriers
  • conflict
  • conflict resolution
  • freezing


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