Inducing hope critical for peacemaking in the Middle East

Hope in the Middle East
Malleability Beliefs, Hope, and the Willingness to Compromise for Peace

From Social Psychological and Personality Science

One of the greatest barriers to resolving intractable conflicts is the perception that such conflicts are inherently unchangeable. This perception leads people to apathy and indifference, resulting in its perpetuation and continuation. To change this appraisal of the future as being stable and identical to the present, hope regarding the end of the conflict must be induced. Hope is associated with much-needed cognitive flexibility and has been associated with attitudes supportive of peacemaking within the context of conflict.

This paper analyses two studies where researchers tested whether (1) hope is based upon beliefs regarding conflict malleability and (2) hope predicts support for concessions for peace. These  two studies addressed the issue of hope in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a particularly prominent example of a protracted, ongoing conflict, in which the repeatedly erupting cycle of violence has led to the terrible cost of extensive destruction and widespread despair. Taken together, these two studies point to a distinct mechanism in which an increased belief about the malleability of conflict situations induces higher levels of hope regarding the end of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the future, and this in turn increases support of major concessions needed in order to promote peace. This research sheds new light on hope as a predictor of conciliatory action tendencies and attitudes within intractable conflicts. Findings have both theoretical and practical implications regarding inducing hope in intractable conflicts, thus promoting the attitudes so critical for peacemaking.

Abstract

The importance of hope has long been asserted in the field of conflict resolution. However, little is actually known about either how to induce hope or what effects hope has on conciliatory attitudes. In the current research, we tested whether (1) hope is based upon beliefs regarding conflict malleability and (2) hope predicts support for concessions for peace. Study 1, a correlational study conducted among Israeli Jews, revealed that malleability beliefs regarding conflicts in general are associated with hope regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as well as with support for concessions. In Study 2, we established causality using an experimental manipulation of beliefs regarding conflicts being malleable (vs. fixed). Findings have both theoretical and practical implications regarding inducing hope in intractable conflicts, thus promoting the attitudes so critical for peacemaking.

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Article details
Smadar Cohen-Chen, Eran Halperin, Richard J. Crisp, and James J.
Hope in the Middle East: Malleability Beliefs, Hope, and the Willingness to Compromise for Peace
Social Psychological and Personality Science 1948550613484499, first published on April 22, 2013 doi:10.1177/1948550613484499

 

     
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