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The Effect of Sociopsychological Barriers on the Processing of New Information about Peace Opportunities

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Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


During protracted intractable conflicts, society members develop a sociopsychological infrastructure that leads to selective and biased information processing, obstructing the penetration of new information that may facilitate peacemaking. To validate a process model that depicts the functioning of these barriers, we conducted a study among 207 Israeli Jews, focusing on the effects of long-term barriers on information processing. After measuring these barriers, we introduced an invented peace proposal and gave participants the option of processing additional information concerning its implications using the Decision Board Platform. Aided by this platform, we conducted an in-depth analysis of information acquisition strategies and found that four general worldviews (i.e., traditional and universal values, incremental theory, and authoritarianism) were associated with the ethos of conflict, which in turn was associated with the general amount and type of information processed. The theoretical and applied implications are discussed.