Internal conflicts are inherent to individuals' everyday experience. In this paper, we present the idea of the “conflict mindset.” We argue that internal conflicts evoke a unique information processing strategy that builds on the simultaneous accessibility of two (or more) conflicting alternatives. Once a conflict is activated, the procedure underlying it is primed and can be applied to any relevant subsequent judgment that need not overlap in content with the conflict that originally gave rise to the mindset. We present research demonstrating that the conflict mindset broadens cognitive scope, as well as serves a proactive function for resolving subsequent conflicts. We further describe both intra-personal and inter-personal implications of the conflict mindset on an array of variables. We briefly discuss other mindsets that share common features with the conflict mindset, elaborate on the uniqueness of the conflict mindset compared to other cognitive and motivational processes, and present lingering questions and future directions.
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Support for this paper was provided by The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) Grant 1328/16 to the first author.
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