University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Bernhard Leidner receives Grant-in-Aid from SPSSI

Dr. Bernhard Leidner has received a Grant-in-Aid from the Society for the Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) for a research project entitled “Understanding and Alleviating Competitive Victimhood to Promote Intergroup Reconciliation: A Field-Experimental Investigation of Causes of Competitive Victimhood and an Intervention to Counter It.”

The research will be carried out in Israel and Palestine, in collaboration with Levi Adelman, a grad student in social psychology, and Dr. Nurit Shnabel in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Abstract. Why do groups in protracted conflict hesitate to acknowledge the other side’s suffering, and how can we change this to increase chances of conflict resolution? A model is proposed and tested, via six field experiments in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from perspectives of both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, claiming that (a) threats to identity and security needs motivate competitive victimhood, inhibiting conflict resolution for groups in protracted conflict; and (b) that these threats and their detrimental consequences can be overcome via an intervention informed by self-affirmation and reconciliation literature, facilitating conflict resolution.