Perceiving Intergroup Conflict: From Game Models to Mental Templates

Perceiving Intergroup Conflict: From Game Models to Mental Templates

By
Nir Halevy, Lilach Sagiv, Sonia Roccas, Gary Bornstein
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. December
2006, Vol. 32, Issue 12, Pages 1674-1689

This article puts forward a parsimonious framework for studying subjective perceptions of real-life intergroup conflicts. Four studies were conducted to explore how individuals perceive the strategic properties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Studies 1 and 2 found theory-driven associations between people’s subjective perception of the conflict’s structure as a Chicken, Assurance, or Prisoner’s Dilemma game and their ingroup/outgroup perceptions, national identification, religiosity, political partisanship, voting behavior, and right-wing authoritarianism. Studies 3 and 4 manipulated the saliency of the needs for cognitive closure and security, respectively, demonstrating that these needs affect people’s endorsement of the game models as descriptions of the conflict.