conflict & communication online, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2013
ISSN 1618-0747




Daniel Bar-Tal & Eran Halperin
The nature of socio-psychological barriers to peaceful conflict resolution and ways to overcome them

The many devastating, violent inter-group conflicts raging in different parts of the world are very current and actual. Such conflicts arise from disputes over incompatible goals and interests in different domains that must be addressed in seeking to find a solution. It is well established that these conflicts might be resolved were it not for strong socio-psychological barriers that help to sustain them. These barriers block progress toward peaceful conflict settlement. They pertain to the integrated operation of cognitive, emotional and motivational processes combined with a pre-existing repertoire of rigid supporting beliefs, worldviews and emotions that favor selective, biased and distorted information processing. This paper elaborates on the nature of socio-psychological barriers and proposes ways to overcome them.


  englischer Volltext  

On the authors:
Daniel Bar-Tal is Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at the School of Education, Tel Aviv University. His research interest is in political and social psychology studying socio-psychological foundations of intractable conflicts and peace building, as well as devel-opment of political understanding among children and peace education. He has published twenty books and over two hundreds articles and chapters in major social and political psychological journals, books and encyclopedias. He served as a President of the International Society of Political Psychology and received various awards for his work, including the Lasswell Award of the International Society of Political Psychology for "distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology." In 2012 he received The Nevitt Sanford Award of the International Society of Political Psychology for engaging in the practical application of political psychological principles, and creating knowledge that is accessible and used by practitioners to make a positive difference in the way politics is carried out.
Address: School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. Tel. 972-3-6408473, Fax 972-3-6409477

Eran Halperin is a senior lecturer at the New School of Psychology at the IDC, Herzliya. He got his Ph.D. from the University of Haifa in 2007 (summa cum laude) and completed postdoctoral training (through a Fulbright Scholarship) at the Department of Psychology, Stanford University, in 2008. His work integrates psychological and political theories and methods in order to explain different aspects of intergroup (mostly intractable) conflicts. Dr. Halperin's main line of research focuses on the role of emotions and emotion regulation in determinin g public opinion towards peace and equality, on the one hand, and war and discrimination, on the other. In addition, he is interested in the psychological roots of some of the most destructive political ramifications of intergroup conflicts (e.g., intolerance, exclusion, and intergroup violence). The unique case of Israeli society in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, motivates his work and inspires his thinking. Hence, most of his stud-ies are conducted within the context of this "natural laboratory."
Address: School of Psychology, IDC Herzliya, Israel. Tel. 09-9527394