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H AFTER ^ ri • •ID Conflict and

Peacema ki If you want peace, work for justice.”


What creates conflict?

How can peace be achieved?

Postscript: The conflict between individual and communal rights

There is a speech that has been spoken in many languages by the leaders of many countries. It goes like this; “The intentions of our country are entirely peaceful. Yet, we are also aware that other

^nations, with their new weapons, threaten us. Thus we must defend

iourselves against attack. By so doing, we shall protect our way of

jlife and preserve the peace” (Richardson, I960}. Almost every nation

^claims concern only for peace but, mistrusting other nations, arms

itself in self-defense. The result is a world that has been spending

$5 billion per day on arms and armies while hundreds of millions die of

malnutrition and untreated disease (SIPRI, 2011).

The elements of such conflict (a perceived incompatibility of

actions or goals) are similar at many levels: conflict between nations in

an arms race, between religious factions disputing points of doctrine,

between corporate executives and workers disputing salaries, and

between bickering spouses. People in conflict perceive that one side s

gain is the other’s loss:

• “We want peace and security.” “So do we, but you threaten us.”

• “I’d like the music off.” “I’d like it on.”

• “We want more pay.” “We can’t afford it.”

A relationship or an organization without conflict is probably apa-

hetic. Conflict signifies involvement, commitment, and caring. If conflict

482 Part Three Social Relations

As civil rights leaders know, creatively managed con­ flicts can have constructive outcomes.

conflict A perceived incompatibility of actions or goals.

peace A condition marked by low levels of hostility and aggression and by mutually beneficial relationships.

is understood and recognized, it can end

oppression and stimulate renewed and

improved human relations. Harmony

occurs when justice and mutual respect

prevail but also when “everyone knows

their place” in an unjust world (Dixon &

others, 2010). Without conflict, people

seldom face and resolve their problems.

Genuine peace is more than the sup­

pression of open conflict, more than a

fragile, superficial calm. Peace is the

outcome of a creatively managed con­

flict. Peace is the parties reconciling

their perceived differences and reaching

genuine accord. “We got our increased

pay. You got your increased profit. Now each of us is helping the other achieve the

organization’s goals.” Peace, says peace researcher Royce Anderson (2004), “is a

condition in which individuals, families, groups, communities, and/or nations experi­

ence low levels of violence and engage in mutually harmonious relationships.”

In this chapter we explore conflict and peacemaking by asking what factors create

or exacerbate conflict, and what factors contribute to peace:

• What social situations feed conflict?

• How do misperceptions fuel conflict?

• Does contact with the other side reduce conflict?

• When do cooperation, communication, and mediation enable reconciliation?

WHAT CREATES CONFLICT?__________ I Explain what feeds conflict.

Social-psychological studies have identified several ingredients of conflict. What’s striking (and what simplifies our task) is that these ingredients are common to all levels of social conflict, whether international, intergroup, or interpersonal.

Social Dilemmas Several of the problems that most threaten our human future—nuclear arms, cli­ mate change, overpopulation, natural-resource depletion—arise as various parties pursue their self-interests, ironically, to their collective detriment. One individual may think, “It would cost me a lot to buy expensive greenhouse emission controls. Besides, the greenhouse gases I personally generate are trivial.” Many others reason

483Conflict and Peacemaking

similarly, and the result is a warming climate, melting ice cover, rising seas, and more extreme weather.

In some societies, parents benefit by having many children who can assist with the family tasks and provide security in their old age. But when most families have many children generation after generation, the result is the collective devastation of overpopulation. Choices that are individually rewarding become collectively pun­ ishing. We therefore have a dilemma: How can we reconcile individual self-interest with communal well-being?

To isolate and study that dilemma, social psychologists have used laboratory games that expose the heart of many real social conflicts. “Social psychologists who study conflict are in much the same position as the astronomers,” noted conflict researcher Morton Deutsch (1999). “We cannot conduct true experiments with large-scale social events. But we can identify the conceptual similarities between the large scale and the small, as the astronomers have between the planets and Newton’s apple. That is why the games people play as subjects in our laboratory may advance our understanding of war, peace, and social justice.”

Let’s consider two laboratory games that are each an example of a social trap: the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons.


This dilemma derives from an anecdote concerning two suspects being questioned separately by the district attorney (DA) (Rapoport, 1960). The DA knows they are jointly guilty but has only enough evidence to convict them of a lesser offense. So the DA creates an incentive for each one to confess privately:

• If Prisoner A confesses and Prisoner B doesn’t, the DA will grant immunity to A and will use A’s confession to convict B of a maximum offense (and vice versa if B confesses and A doesn’t).

», • If both confess, each will receive a moderate sentence. F • If neither prisoner confesses, each will be convicted of a lesser crime and i receive a light sentence.

The matrix of Figure 13.1 summarizes the choices. If you were a prisoner faced with such a dilemma, with no chance to talk to the other prisoner, would you confess?

Prisoner A

Confesses Doesn’t confess


Doesn’t confess

10 years

Chapter 13

social trap A situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing its self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior. Examples include the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons.

FIGURE:: 13.1 The Classic Prisoner’s Dilemma In each box, the number above the diagonal is prisoner A’s outcome. Thus, if both prisoners confess, both get five years. If neither confesses, each gets a year. If one confesses, that prisoner is set free in exchange for evidence used to convict the other of a crime bringing a 10-year sentence. If you were one of the prisoners, unable to communicate with your fellow prisoner, would you confess?

484 Part Three Social Relations

FIGURE:: 13.2 Laboratory Version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma The numbers represent some reward, such as money. In each box, the number above the diagonal lines is the outcome for person A. Unlike the classic Pris­ oner’s Dilemma (a one-shot deci­ sion), most laboratory versions involve repeated plays.

Response 1 (defect)

Person A

iponse 1 Respo (defect) (coopera-^


Response 2 (cooperate)



Many people say they would confess to be granted immunity, even though mutual nonconfession elicits lighter sentences than mutual confession. Perhaps this is because (as shown in the Figure 13.1 matrix) no matter what the other prisoner decides, each is better off confessing than being convicted individually. If the other also confesses, the sentence is moderate rather than severe. If the other does not confess, one goes free.

University students have faced variations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, with the choices being to defect or to cooperate, and the outcomes not being prison terms but chips, money, or course points. As Figure 13.2 illustrates, on any given decision, a person is better off defecting (because such behavior exploits the other’s cooperation or protects against the other’s exploitation). However—and here’s the rub—by not cooperating, both parties end up far worse off than if they had trusted each other and thus had gained a joint profit. This dilemma often traps each one in a maddening predicament in which both realize they could mutually profit. But unable to commu­ nicate, and mistrusting each other, they often become “locked in” to not cooperating. Outside the university, examples abound: seemingly intractable and costly conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians over borders, U.S. Republicans and Democrats over taxation and deficits, and professional athletes and team owners over pay.

Punishing another’s lack of cooperation might seem like a smart strategy, but in the laboratory it can have counterproductive effects (Dreber & others, 2008). Punish­ ment typically triggers retaliation, which means that those who punish tend to esca­ late conflict, worsening their outcomes, while nice guys finish first. What punishers see as a defensive reaction, recipients see as an aggressive escalation (Anderson & others, 2008). When hitting back, they may hit harder while seeing themselves as merely returning tit for tat. In one experiment, London volunteers used a mechanical device to press back on another’s finger after receiving pressure on their own. While seeking to reciprocate with the same degree of pressure, they typically responded with 40 percent more force. Thus, touches soon escalated to hard presses, much like a child saying “I just touched him, and then he hit me!” (Shergill & others, 2003). THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS

Many social dilemmas involve more than two parties. Climate change stems from deforestation and from the carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles, furnaces, and coal-fired power plants. Each gas-guzzling SUV contributes infinitesimally to the problem, and

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 485

harm each does is diffused over many people. To model such social predicaments, researchers have developed laboratory dilemmas that involve multiple people.

A metaphor for the insidious nature of social dilemmas is what ecologist Garrett Hardin (1968) called the Tragedy of the Commons. He derived the name from the centrally located grassy pasture in old English towns.

In today’s world the “commons” can be air, water, fish, cookies, or any shared and limited resource. If all use the resource in moderation, it may replenish itself as rapidly as it’s harvested. The grass will grow, the fish will reproduce, and the cookie jar will be restocked. If not, there occurs a tragedy of the commons. Imagine 100 farmers surrounding a commons capable of sustaining 100 cows. When each grazes one cow, the common feeding ground is optimally used. But then a farmer reasons, “If I put a second cow in the pasture. I’ll double my output, minus the mere 1 percent overgrazing” and adds a second cow. So does each of the other farmers. The inevi­ table result? The Tragedy of the Commons—a mud field and famished cows.

Likewise, environmental pollution is the sum of many minor pollutions, each of which benefits the individual polluters much more than they could benefit them­ selves (and the environment) if they stopped polluting. We litter public places— dorm lounges, parks, zoos—while keeping our personal spaces clean. We deplete our natural resources because the immediate personal benefits of, for instance, taking a long, hot shower outweigh the seemingly inconsequential costs. Whalers knew others would exploit the whales if they didn’t, and that taking a few whales would hardly diminish the species. Therein lies the tragedy. Everybody’s business (conservation) becomes nobody’s business.

Is such individualism imiquely American? Kaori Sato (1987) gave students in a more collective culture, Japan, opportunities to harvest—for actual money trees from a simulated forest. The students shared equally the costs of planting the for­ est. The result was like those in Western cultures. More than half the trees were harvested before they had grown to the most profitable size.

Sato’s forest reminds me of our home’s cookie jar, which was restocked once a week. What we should have done was conserve cookies so that each day we could each enjoy two or three. But lacking regulation and fearing that other family mem­ bers would soon deplete the resource, what we actually did was maximize our individual cookie consumption by downing one after the other. The result; Within 24 hours the cookie glut would often end, the jar sitting empty for the rest of the week.

When resources are not partitioned, people often consume more than they real­ ize (Herlocker & others, 1997). As a bowl of mashed potatoes is passed around a table of 10, the first few diners are more likely to scoop out a disproportionate share than when a platter of 10 chicken drumsticks is passed.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons games have several similar features.


First, both games tempt people to explain their ozon behavior situationally (“I had to protect myself against exploitation by my opponent”) and to explain their part­ ners’ behavior dispositionally (“she was greedy,” “he was untrustworthy ). Most never realize that their counterparts are viewing them with the same fundamental attribution error (Gifford & Hine, 1997; Hine & Gifford, 1996). People with self- inflating, self-focused narcissistic tendencies are especially unlikely to empathize with others’ perspectives (Campbell & others, 2005).


Second, motives often change. At first, people are eager to make some easy money, then to minimize their losses, and finally to save face and avoid defeat (Brockner & others, 1982; Teger, 1980). These shifting motives are strikingly similar to the shifting motives during the buildup of the 1960s Vietnam War. At first. President Johnson’s speeches expressed concern for democracy, freedom, and justice. As the conflict escalated, his

Tragedy of the Commons The “commons” is any shared resource, including air, water, energy sources, and food supplies. The tragedy occurs when individuals consume more than their share, with the cost of their doing so dispersed among all, causing the ultimate collapse—the tragedy—of the commons.

486 Part Three Social Relations

non-zero>sum games Games in which outcomes need not sum to zero. With cooperation, both can win; with competition, both can lose (also called mixed-motive situations).










TUNA ROAM,” 2006

Small is cooperative. On the Isle of Muck, off Scotland’s west coast, Constable Lawrence MacEwan has had an easy time policing the island’s residents, recently numbering 33. Over his 40 years on the job, there was never a crime (5cotf/s/j Life, 2001). In 2010, a row between two friends who had been drinking at a wedding became the first recorded crime in 50 years, but the next morning, they shook hands and all was well (Cameron, 2010).

concern became protecHng America’s honor and avoiding the national humiliaH^^ of losmg a war. A similar shift occurred during the war in Iraq, which was initiall^ proposed as a response to Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. ^


Third, most real-life conflicts, like the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of thp Commons, are non-zero-sum games. The two sides’ profits and losses need not add up to zero. Both can win; both can lose. Each game pits the immediate interests of indi ^duals agamst the well-being of the group. Each is a diaboUcal social trap that shows how, even when each individual behaves “rationally,” harm can result. No maUcious person planned for the earth’s atmosphere to be warmed by a carbon dioxide blanket

Not all self-serving behavior leads to collective doom. In a plentiful commons—as in the world of the eighteenth-century capitalist economist Adam Smith (1776, p 18)— mdividu^ who seek to maximize their own profit may also give the commuidty wl^t It needs: It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner,” he observed, “but from their regard to their own interest.”


Faced with social traps, how can we induce people to cooperate for their mutual betterment? Research with the laboratory dilemmas reveals several ways (Gifford & Hine, 1997). ^

REGULATION If taxes were entirely voluntary, how many would pay their full share? Modern societies do not depend on charity to pay for schools, parks, and social and military security. We also develop rules to safeguard our common good. Fishing and hunting have long been regulated by local seasons and limits; at the ^obal level, an International Whaling Commission sets an agreed-upon “harvest” that enables whales to regenerate. Likewise, where fishing industries, such as the Alaskan halibut fishery, have implemented “catch shares”—guaranteeing each fisher a percentage of each year’s allowable catch—competition and overfishing have been greatly reduced (Costello & others, 2008).

In everyday life, however, regulation has costs—costs of administering and enforcing the regulations, costs of diminished personal freedom. A volatile political question thus arises: At what point does a regulation’s cost exceed its benefits?

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL There is another way to resolve social dilemmas; Make the group small. In a small commons, each person feels more responsible and effec­ tive (Kerr 1989). As a group grows larger, people become more likely to think, “I couldn t have made a difference anyway”—a common excuse for noncooperation (Kerr &Kaufman-Gilliland, 1997).

487Conflict and Peacemaking

In small groups, people also feel more identified with a group’s success. Resi­ dential stability also strengthens communal identity and procommunity behavior (Oishi & others, 2007).

In small groups—in contrast to large ones—individuals are less likely to take more than their equal share of available resources (Allison & others, 1992). On the Pacific Northwest island where I grew up, our small neighborhood shared a com­ munal water supply. On hot summer days when the reservoir ran low, a light came on, signaling our 15 families to conserve. Recognizing our responsibility to one another, and feeling that our conservation really mattered, each of us conserved. Never did the reservoir run dry.

In a much larger commons—say, a city—voluntary conservation is less success­ ful. Because the harm one does diffuses across many others, each individual can rationalize away personal accountability. Some political theorists and social psy­ chologists therefore argue that, where feasible, the commons should be divided into smaller territories (Edney, 1980). In his 1902 Mutual Aid, the Russian revolu­ tionary Pyotr Kropotkin set down a vision of small communities rather than central government making consensus decisions for the benefit of all (Gould, 1988).

Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar (1992, 2010) notes that hunter-gatherer societies often travel together as groups of 30 to 35 people, that tribal villages and clans often have averaged about 150 people—enough to afford mutual support and protection but not more people than one can monitor. He suspects it’s not a coinci­ dence that the average number of Facebook friends—about 125—echoes the size of our ancestral tribal villages, which reflect the number of people with whom we can have meaningful, supportive relationships. This seemingly natural group size is also, he believes, the optimum size for business organizations, religious congrega­ tions, and military fighting units.

COMMUNICATION To resolve a social dilemma, people must communicate. In the laboratory as in real life, group communication sometimes degenerates into threats and name-calling (Deutsch & Krauss, 1960). More often, communication enables cooperation (Bornstein & others, 1988,1989). Discussing the dilemma forges a group identity, which enhances concern for everyone’s welfare. It devises group norms and expectations and pressures members to follow them. Especially when people are face-to-face, it enables them to commit themselves to cooperation (Bouas & Komorita, 1996; Drolet & Morris, 2000; Kerr & others, 1994,1997; Pruitt, 1998).

A clever experiment by Robyn Dawes (1980, 1994) illustrates the importance of communication. Imagine that an experimenter offered you and six strangers a choice: You can each have $6, or you can donate your $6 to the others. If you give away your money, the experimenter will double your gift. No one will be told whether you chose to give or keep your $6. Thus, if all seven give, everyone pockets $12. If you alone keep your $6 and all the others give theirs, you pocket $18. If you give and the others keep, you pocket nothing. In this experiment, cooperation is mutually advantageous, but it requires risk. Dawes found that, without discussion, about 30 percent of people gave. With discussion, in which they could establish trust and cooperation, about 80 percent gave.

Open, clear, forthright communication between two parties reduces mistrust. Without communication, those who expect others not to cooperate will usually refuse to cooperate themselves (Messe & Sivacek, 1979; Pruitt & Kimmel, 1977). One who mistrusts is almost sure to be uncooperative (to protect against exploita­ tion). Noncooperation, in turn, feeds further mistrust (“VS^at else could I do? It’s a dog-eat-dog world”). In experiments, communication reduces mistrust, enabling people to reach agreements that lead to their common betterment.

CHANGING THE PAYOFFS Laboratory cooperation rises when experimenters change the payoff matrix to reward cooperation and punish exploitation (Balliet & others, 2011). Changing payoffs also helps resolve actual dilemmas. In some cit­ ies, freeways clog and skies collect smog because people prefer the convenience

Chapter 13






















488 Part Three Social Relations

To change behavior, many cities have changed the payoff matrix. Fast carpool-only lanes increase the benefits of carpooling and the costs of driving alone.




AUGUST 20,1940

of driving themselves directly to work. Each knows that one more car does not add noticeably to the congestion and pollution. To alter the personal cost-benefit calculations many cities now give carpoolers incentives, such as desig­ nated freeway lanes or reduced tolls.

APPEALING TO ALTRUISTIC NORMS In Chapter 12 we saw how increasing bystanders’ feelings of responsibility for others boosts altruism. Will appeals to altruistic motives similarly prompt people to act for the common good?

The evidence is mixed. On the one hand, just knowing the dire consequences of noncooperation has little effect. In labo­ ratory games, people realize that their self-serving choices are mutually destructive, yet they continue to make them. Out­ side the laboratory, warnings of doom and appeals to con­ serve have brought little response. Shortly after taking office in 1976, President Carter declared that America’s response to the energy crisis should be “the moral equivalent of war” and urged conservation. The following summer, Americans consumed more gasoline than ever before. At the beginning of this new century, people knew that global warming was under way—and were buying gas-slurping SUVs in record numbers. As we have seen many times in this book, attitudes sometimes fail to influence behavior. Knowing what is good does not necessarily lead to doing what is good.

Still, most people do adhere to norms of social responsibil­ ity, reciprocity, equity, and keeping one’s commitments (Kerr, 1992). The problem is how to tap such feelings. One way is through the influence of a charismatic leader who inspires others to cooperate (De Cremer, 2002). Another way is by defining situations in ways that invoke cooperative norms. In one experiment, only a third of participants cooperated in a simulation labeled the “Wall Street Game.” Two-thirds did so when the same social dilemma was labeled the “Community Game” (Liberman & others, 2004).

Communication can also activate altruistic norms. When permitted to communi­ cate, participants in laboratory games frequently appeal to the social-responsibility norm: “If you defect on the rest of us, you’re going to have to live with it for the rest of your life” (Dawes & others, 1977). So researcher Robyn Dawes (1980) and his associates gave participants a short sermon about group benefits, exploitation, and ethics. Then the participants played a dilemma game. The sermon worked: People chose to forgo immediate personal gain for the common good. (Recall, too, from Chapter 12, the disproportionate volunteerism and charitable contributions by people who regularly hear religious sermons.)

Could such appeals work in large-scale dilemmas? In the 1960s struggle for civil rights, many marchers willingly agreed, for the sake of the larger group, to suffer harassment, beatings, and jail. In wartime, people make great personal sacrifices for the good of their group. As Winston Churchill said of the Battle of Britain, the actions of the Royal Air Force pilots were genuinely altruistic: A great many people owed a great deal to those who flew into battle knowing there was a high probability—70 per­ cent for those on a standard tour of duty—that they would not return (Levinson, 1950).

To summarize, we can minimize destructive entrapment in social dilemmas by establishing rules that regulate self-serving behavior, by keeping groups small by enabling people to communicate, by changing payoffs to make cooperation more rewarding, and by invoking compelling altruistic norms.

Competition Hostilities often arise when groups compete for scarce jobs, housing, or resources. When interests clash, conflict erupts—a phenomenon Chapter 9 identified as realistic group conflict. As one Algerian immigrant to France explained after Muslim youth rioted in

489Conflict and Peacemaking

f Prpnch cities in the autumn of 2005, “There is no exit, no factories, no jobs for ■dozens of French c (c^inVmo 2005) ”We are the 99 percent EconomiclU- ^ Tilted te chirpy wTll s“^t prlstors in 2011: expressing their fjustice is overdue declared the Wail b P ^pleasure With 1 percent of

invading his Turkish province in 1919.

: Theystartedkiliingpeoplerightand^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ and then I became mterested wLtevL science or specialization was

‘ After studying the social roots of savagery, Sherif introduced

camp m “Parate buse^ an p ^^,5 Oklahoma’s Robb« s Cav^ State Park^to^^^^ in various activities-preparing

ifying the good feeling, a ^ ^ the conflict. Near the first Grouo identity thus established, the stage u n m ” wVi#»n the

groups (baseball games, ° ^ ^ tMs was win-lose competition. Theforth), both groups responded enthusiastically. 1 Ills V* spoils (medals, knives) would all go to the , ,,ene from

boys marooned on an island. In Sh • • ^ it escalated to din-

Chapter 13

Little-known fact: How did Sherif unobtrusively observe the boys without inhibiting their behavior? He became the camp maintenance man (Williams, 2002).

Competition kindles conflict. Here, in Sherif’s Robber’s Cave experiment, one group of boys raids the bunkhouse of another.

490 Part Three



Social Relations

after hearing tolerance-advocating messages, ingroup discussion often exacerh i dislike of the conflicting group (Paluck, 2010). All of this occurred without anv ? tural, physical, or economic differences between the two groups, and withal,”*’ who were their communiHes’ “cream of the crop.” Sherif noted that, had we the camp at that point, we would have concluded these “were wicked dishirh a Md vicious bunches of youngsters” (1966, p. 85). Actually, their evil behavior ‘ tnggered by an evil situation.

Competition breeds such conflict, later research has shown, especially when i.i p^ple perceive that resources such as money, jobs, or power are limited and avaU- able on a zero-sum basis (others’ gain is one’s loss), and (b) a distinct outeroun stands out as a potential competitor (Esses & others, 2005). Thus, those who see immigrants as competing for their own jobs will tend to express negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. ^

Fortunately, as we will see, Sherif not only made strangers into enemies; he then also made the enemies into friends.

Perceived Injustice “That’s i^air!” “What a ripoff!” “We deserve better!” Such comments typify conflicts bred by perceived injustice. But what is “justice”? According to some social-psychological theorists, people perceive justice as equity—the distribution of rewards in proportion to individuals’ contributions (Walster & others, 1978). If you and I have a relationship (employer-employee, teacher-student, husband-wife colleague-colleague), it is equitable if

My outcomes _ Your outcomes My inputs Your inputs

If you contribute more and benefit less than I do, you will feel exploited and irri- tated; I may feel exploitative and guilty. Chances are, though, that you will be more sensitive to the inequity than I will be (Greenberg, 1986; Messick & Sentis, 1979).

We may agree with the equity principle’s definition of justice yet disagree on whetiier our relationship is equitable. If two people are colleagues, what will each consider a relevant input? The older person may favor basing pay on seniority, the other on current productivity. Given such a disagreement, whose definition is likely to prevail. Those with social power usually convince themselves and others that they deserve what they’re getting (Mikula, 1984). This has been called a “golden” rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

Critics argue that equity is not the only conceivable definition of justice. (Pause a moment: Can you imagine any other?) Edward Sampson (1975) argued that equity Uieonsts wrongly assume that the economic principles that guide Western, capital­ ist nations are umversal. Some noncapitalist cultures define justice not as equity but as equality or even fulfillment of need: “From each according to his abilities, to each accordmg to his needs” (Karl Marx). Compared with individualistic Americans, people socialized under the influence of collectivist cultures, such as China and ^dia, defme justice more as equality or need fulfillment (Hui & others, 1991 • Leung & Bond, 1984; Murphy-Berman others, 1984).

On what basis should rewards be distributed? Merit? Equality? Need^ Some com­ bination of those? Political philosopher John Rawls (1971) invited us to consider a tuture m which our own place on the economic ladder is unknown. Which stan­ dard of justice would we prefer?

Misperception Recall that conflict is a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals. Many conflicts contain but a small core of truly incompatible goals; the bigger problem is the misper­ ceptions of the other’s motives and goals. Hie Eagles and the Rattlers did indeed

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 491

have some genuinely incompatible aims. But their perceptions subjectively magni­ fied their differences (Figure 13.3).

In earlier chapters we considered the seeds of such misperception:

T • The self-serving bias leads individu- S’ als and groups to accept credit for I ’ their good deeds and shirk respon-

sibility for bad deeds, r • A tendency to sc//-j«stf/y inclines 1^ people to deny the wrong of their I evil acts. (“You call that hitting? I

hardly touched him!”) [■ • Thanks to the fundamental attribution error, each side sees the other’s hostility j as reflecting an evil disposition. \. • One then filters the information and interprets it to fit one’s preconceptions. \ • Groups frequently polarize these self-serving, self-justifying, biasing ?: tendencies. ‘ • One symptom of groupthink is the tendency to perceive one’s own group as ! r moral and strong, and the opposition as evil and weak. Acts of terrorism that S in most people’s eyes are despicable brutality are seen by others as “holy war.” [‘ • Indeed, the mere fact of being in a group triggers an ingroup bias. i • Negative stereotypes of the outgroup, once formed, are often resistant to con­

tradictory evidence. So it should not surprise us, though it should sober us, to discover that people in

conflict—people everywhere—form distorted images of one another. Wherever in the world you live, was it not true that when your country was last at war it clothed itself in moral virtue? that it prepared for war by demonizing the enemy? that most of its people accepted their government’s case for war and rallied ’round its flag? Show social psychologists Ervin Staub and Daniel Bar-Tal (2003) a group in intrac­ table conflict and they will show you a group that

• sees its own goals as supremely important. • takes pride in “us” and devalues “them.” • believes itself victimized.

■ • elevates patriotism, solidarity, and loyalty to their group s needs. • celebrates self-sacrifice and suppresses criticism. Although one side to a conflict may indeed be acting with greater moral vutue,

the point is that enemy images are fairly predictable. Even the types of mispercep­ tion are intriguingly predictable.


To a striking degree, the misperceptions of those in conflict are mutual. People in conflict attribute similar virtues to themselves and vices to the other. When the American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner (1961) visited the Soviet Union in 1960 and conversed with many ordinary citizens in Russian, he was astonished to hear them saying the same things about America that Americans were saying about Russia. The Russians said that the U.S. government was militarily aggressive; that it exploited and deluded the American people; that in diplomacy, it was not to be trusted. “Slowly and painfully, it forced itself upon one that the Russians’ distorted picture of us was curiously similar to our view of them—a mirror image.

Analyses of American and Russian perceptions by psychologists (Tobin & Eagles, 1992; White, 1984) and political scientists (Jervis, 1985) revealed that mirror-image

FIGURE:: 13.3 Many conflicts contain a core of truly incompatible goals surrounded by a larger exterior of misperceptions.



492 Part Three Social Relations

Self-confirming, mirror-image perceptions are a hallmark of intense conflict.

mirror-image perceptions Reciprocal views of each other often held by parties in conflict: for example, each may view itself as moral and peace-loving and the other as evil and aggressive.

perceptions persisted into the 1980s. The same action (patrolling the other’s coast with sellmg arms to smaller nations) seemed more hostile when they did it

When two sides have clashing perceptions, at least one of the two is misperceiving the other. And when such misperceptions exist, noted Bronfenbrenner, “It is a psy­ chological phenomenon without parallel in the gravity of its consequences … for if IS characteristic of such images that they are self-confirming.” If A expects B to be hostile

may treat B m such a way that B fulfills A’s expectations, thus beginning a vicious circle (Kennedy & Pronin, 2008). Morton Deutsch (1986) explained:

You hear the false rumor that a friend is saying nasty things about you; you snub him; he then badmouths you, confirming your expectation. Similarly, if the policymakers of East and West believe that war is likely and either attempts to increase its military security vis-a-vis the other, the other’s response will justify the initial move. Negative mirror-image perceptions have been an obstacle to peace in many

places: ^ ^

Both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict insisted that “we” are motivated by our need to protect our security and our territory, whereas “they” want to obliter­ ate us and gobble up our land. “We” are the indigenous people here, “they” are the mvaders. “We” are the victims; “they” are the aggressors” (Bar-Tal, 2004; ^^^dsWeit, 1979; Kelman, 2007). Given such intense mistrust, negotiation is

• At Northern Ireland’s University of Ulster, Catholic and Protestant students viewed videos of a Protestant attack at a Catholic funeral and a Catholic attack at a Protestant funeral (Hunter & others, 1991). Most students attrib­ uted the other side’s attack to “bloodthirsty” motives but its own side’s attack to retaliation or self-defense.

• Terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. In the Middle East, a public opinion survey found 98 percent of Palestinians agreeing that the killing of 29 Pales­ tinians by an assault-rifle-bearing Israeli at a mosque constituted terrorism, and 82 percent disagreed that the killing of 21 Israeli youths by a Palestinian suicide-bombmg constituted terrorism (Kmglanski & Fishman, 2006) Israelis likewise have responded to violence with intensified perceptions of Palestinian evil intent (Bar-Tal, 2004).

OULU Lonriicts, iiuies 1 luup z^imoarao (^uu4a), engage “a two-categ^iy of good people, like US, and of bad people, like THEM.” “In fact,” n4e Danit

ahneman and Jonathan Renshon (200^, all the biases uncovered in 40 years of psv chological research are conducive to war. They “incline national leaders to exaggerat

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 493

the evil intentions of adversaries, to misjudge how adversaries perceive them, to he overly sanguine when hostilities start, and overly reluctant to make necessary con­ cessions in negotiations.”

Opposing sides in a conflict tend to exaggerate their differences. On issues such as immigration and affirmative action, proponents aren’t as liberal and opponents aren’t as conservative as their adversaries suppose (Sherman & others, 2003). Opposing sides also tend to have a “bias blind spot,” notes Cynthia McPherson Frantz (2006). They see their own understandings as not biased by their liking or disliking for others; but those who disagree with them seem unfair and biased.

John Chambers, Robert Baron, and Mary Inman (2006) confirmed misperceptions on issues related to abortion and politics. Partisans perceived exaggerated differ­ ences from their adversaries (who actually agreed with them more often than they supposed). From exaggerated perceptions of the other’s position arise culture wars. Ralph White (1996,1998) reports that the Serbs started the war in Bosnia partly out of an exaggerated fear of the relatively secularized Bosnian Muslims, whose beliefs they wrongly associated with Middle Eastern Islamic fundamentalism and fanati­ cal terrorism. Resolving conflict involves abandoning such exaggerated perceptions and coming to understand the other’s mind. But that isn’t easy, notes Robert Wright (2003): “Putting yourself in the shoes of people who do things you find abhorrent may be the hardest moral exercise there is.”

Destructive mirror-image perceptions also operate in conflicts between small groups and between individuals. As we saw in the dilemma games, both parties may say, “We want to cooperate. But their refusal to cooperate forces us to react defen­ sively.” When Kermeth Thomas and Louis Pondy (1977) asked executives to describe a significant recent conflict, only 12 percent felt the other party was cooperative; 74 percent perceived themselves as cooperative. The typical executive explained that he or she had “suggested,” “informed,” and “recommended,” whereas the antagonist had “demanded,” “disagreed with everything I said,” and “refused.”

Group conflicts are often fueled by an illusion that the enemy’s top leaders are evil but their people, though controlled and manipulated, are pro-us. This evil-leader- good people perception characterized Americans’ and Russians’ views of each other during the Cold War. The United States entered the Vietnam War believing that in areas dominated by the Communist Vietcong “terrorists,” many of the people were allies-in-waiting. As suppressed information later revealed, those beliefs were mere wishful thinking. In 2003 the United States began the Iraq War presuming the exis­ tence of “a vast underground network that would rise in support of coalition forces to assist security and law enforcement” (Phillips, 2003). Alas, the network didn’t materialize, and the resulting postwar security vacuum enabled looting, sabotage, persistent attacks on American forces, and increasing attacks from an insurgency determined to drive Western interests from the country.








When tension rises—as happens during an international crisis—rational thinking becomes more difficult (Janis, 1989). Views of the enemy become more simplistic and stereotyped, and seat-of-the-pants judgments become more likely. Even the mere expectation of conflict can serve to freeze thinking and impede creative prob­ lem solving (Camevale & Probst, 1998). Social psychologist Philip Tetlock (1988) observed inflexible thinking when he analyzed the complexity of Russian and American rhetoric since 1945. During the Berlin blockade, the Korean War, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, political statements became simplified into stark, good-versus-bad terms. At other times—notably after Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet general secretary (Figure 13.4)—political statements acknowledged that each country’s motives are complex.

Researchers have also analyzed political rhetoric preceding the outset of major wars, surprise military attacks. Middle Eastern conflicts, and revolu­ tions (Conway & others, 2001). In nearly every case, attacking leaders displayed

494 Part Three Social Relations

FIGURE:: 13.4 Complexity of Official U.S. and Soviet Policy Statements, 1977-1986 Source:?rom Tetlock, 1988.

Mean integrative complexity (complexity = not simplistic)


increasingly simplistic we-are-good/they-are-bad thinking immediately prior to new” u IT”””‘typically preceded wh^n P r optimism was cLirmed when President Reagan in 1988 traveled to Moscow to sign the American Russian mtermediate-range nuclear force (INF) treaty, and then Gorbachev visited

research CLOSE-UP Misperception and War

Most research that I report in this book offers numeri­ cal data drawn from observations of people’s behav­ ior, cognitions, and attitudes as exhibited in laboratory experiments or in surveys. But there are other ways to do research. Some social psychologists, especially in Europe, analyze natural human discourse; they study written texts or spoken conversation to glimpse how people interpret and construct the events of their lives (Edwards & Potter, 2005). Others have analyzed human behavior in historical contexts, as did Irving Janis (1972) in exploring groupthink in historical fiascoes and Philip Tetlock (2005) in exploring the judgment failures of supposed political experts.

In what was arguably social psychology’s longest career, Ralph K. White, legendary for his late 1930s studies of democratic versus autocratic leadership (with pioneering social psychologists Kurt Lewin and Ronald Lippitt), published in 2004—at age 97—a capstone article summarizing his earlier analyses (1968, 1984, 1986) of how misperceptions feed war. In reviewing 10 wars from the past century, White reported that each was marked by at least one of three mispercep­ tions: underestimating the strength of one’s enemy,

ratJona//z/ng one’s own motives and behavior, and, especially, demonizing the enemy.

Underestimating one’s adversary, he observed, embold- |: ened Hitler to attack Russia, Japan to attack the United i States, and the United States to enter the Korean and |

Vietnam wars. And rationalization of one’s own actions and I demonization of the adversary are the hallmark of war. In f

the early twenty-first century as the United States and Iraq i talked of war, each said the other was “evil.” To George I W Bush, Saddam Hussein was a “murderous tyrant” and a “madman” who threatened the civilized world with weap- ■ ons of mass destruction. To Iraq’s government, the Bush government was a “gang of evil” (Preston, 2002). |

The truth need not lie midway between such clash- I ing perceptions. Yet “valid perception is an antidote to hate,” concluded White as he reflected on his lifetime ‘ as a peace psychologist. Empathy-accurately perceiv- ; ing the other’s thoughts and feelings—is “one of the most important factors for preventing war. .. . Empathy can help two or more nations avoid the dangers of misperception that lead to the wars most would prefer not to fight.”

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 495

I New York and told the United Nations that he would remove 500,000 Soviet troops ^ fixim Eastern Europe:

^ I would like to believe that our hopes will be matched by our joint effort to put an end I to an era of wars, confrontation and regional conflicts, to aggressions against nature, to I the terror of hunger and poverty as well as to political terrorism. This is our common

goal and we can only reach it together.


If misperceptions accompany conflict, they should appear and disappear as con­ flicts wax and wane. And they do, with startling regularity. The same processes that create the enemy’s image can reverse that image when the enemy becomes an ally. Thus, the “bloodthirsty, cruel, treacherous, buck-toothed little Japs” of World War II soon became—in North American minds (Gallup, 1972) and in the media— our “intelligent, hard-working, self-disciplined, resourceful allies.”

The Germans, who after two world wars were hated, then admired, and then again hated, were once again admired—apparently no longer plagued by what earlier was presumed to be cruelty in their national character. So long as Iraq was attacking unpopular Iran, even while using chemical weapons to massacre its own Kurds, many nations supported it. Our enemy’s enemy is our friend. When Iraq ended its war with Iran and invaded oil-rich Kuwait, Iraq’s behavior suddenly became “barbaric.” Images of our enemies change with amazing ease.

The extent of misperceptions during conflict provides a chilling reminder that people need not be insane or abnormally malicious to form distorted images of their antagonists. When we experience conflict with another nation, another group, or simply a roommate or a parent, we readily misperceive our own motives as good and the other’s as evil. And just as readily, our antagonists form a mirror-image perception of us.

So, with antagonists trapped in a social dilemma, competing for scarce resources, or perceiving injustice, the conflict continues until something enables both parties to peel away their misperceptions and work at reconciling their actual differences. Good advice, then, is this: When in conflict, do not assume that the other fails to share your values and morality. Rather, compare perceptions, assuming that the other is likely perceiving the situation differently.

SUMMING UP: What Creates Conflict? • Whenever two or more people, groups, or nations

interact, their perceived needs and goals may con­ flict. Many social dilemmas arise as people pursue individual self-interest to their collective detriment. Two laboratory games, the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons, exemplify such dilemmas. In real life we can avoid such traps by establishing rules that regulate self-serving behav­ ior; by keeping social groups small so people feel responsibility for one another; by enabling com­ munication, thus reducing mistrust; by changing payoffs to make cooperation more rewarding; and by invoking altruistic norms.

• When people compete for scarce resources, human relations often sink into prejudice and hostility. In his famous experiments, Muzafer Sherif found that win-lose competition quickly made strangers into

enemies, triggering outright warfare even among normally upstanding boys.

• Conflicts also arise when people feel unjustly treated. According to equity theory, people define justice as the distribution of rewards in proportion to one’s contributions. Conflicts occur when people disagree on the extent of their contributions and thus on the equity of their outcomes.

• Conflicts frequently contain a small core of truly incompatible goals, surrounded by a thick layer of misperceptions of the adversary’s motives and goals. Often, conflicting parties have mirror-image perceptions. When both sides believe “We are peace- loving—they are hostile,” each may treat the other in ways that provoke confirmation of its expecta­ tions. International conflicts are sometimes also fed by an evil leader-good people illusion.

496 Part Three Social Relations







1893-1981, FORMER U.S. ARMY


HOW CAN PEACE BE ACHIEVED? Explain the processes that enable the achievement of peace.

Although toxic forces can breed destructive conflict, we can harness other forces to bring conflict to a constructive resolution. What are these ingredients of peace and harmony?

We have seen how conflicts are ignited by social traps, competition, perceived injustices, and misperceptions. Although the picture is grim, it is not hopeless. Sometimes closed fists become open arms as hostilities evolve into friendship. Social psychologists have focused on four strategies for helping enemies become comrades. We can remember these as the four Cs of peacemaking: contact, coopera­ tion, communication, and conciliation.

Contact Might putting two conflicting individuals or groups into close contact enable them to know and like each other? Perhaps not: In Chapter 3, we saw how negative expectations can bias judgments and create self-fulfilling prophecies. When ten­ sions run high, contact may fuel a fight.

But we also saw, in Chapter 11, that proximity—and the accompanying interac­ tion, anticipation of interaction, and mere exposure—boosts liking. In Chapter 4, we noted how blatant racial prejudice declined following desegregation, showing that attitudes follow behavior. If this social-psychological principle now seems obvi­ ous, remember: That’s how things usually seem after you know them. To the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896, the idea that desegregated behavior might reduce preju­ dicial attitudes was anything but obvious. What seemed obvious at the time was “that legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts” (Plessy v. Ferguson).

DOES CONTACT PREDICT ATTITUDES? In general, contact predicts tolerance. In a painstakingly complete analysis, Linda Tropp and Thomas Pettigrew (2005a; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008, 2011) assembled data from 516 studies of 250,555 people in 38 nations. In 94 percent of studies, increased contact predicted decreased prejudice. This is especially so for majority group attitudes toward minorities (Gibson & Claassen, 2010; Tropp & Pettigrew, 2005b).

Newer studies confirm the correlation between contact and positive attitudes: • The more interracial contact South African Blacks and Whites have, the less

prejudice they feel, and the more sympathetic their policy attitudes are to those of the other group (Dixon & others, 2007; Tredoux & Finchilescu, 2010).

• The more friendly contact Blacks and Whites have with one another, the bet­ ter their attitudes toward one another—and toward other outgroups, such as Hispanics (Tausch & others, 2010).

• The more contact straight people have with gays and lesbians, the more accepting they become (Smith & others, 2009).

• The more contact Dutch adolescents have with Muslims, the more accepting of Muslims they are (Gonzalez & others, 2008).

• Even vicarious indirect contact, via story reading or imagination, or through a friend’s having an outgroup friend, tends to reduce prejudice (Cameron & Rutland, 2006; Crisp & others, 2011; Turner & others, 2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2010). This indirect contact effect, also called “the extended-contact effect,” can spread more positive attitudes through a peer group (Christ & others, 2010).

In the United States, segregation and expressed prejudice have diminished together since the 1960s. But was interracial contact the cause of these improved attitudes? Were those who actually experienced desegregation affected by it?

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 497


School desegregation has produced measurable benefits, such as leading more Blacks to attend and succeed in college (Stephan, 1988). Does desegregation of schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces also produce favorable social results? The evidence is mixed.

On the one hand, many studies conducted during and shortly after desegrega­ tion found Whites’ attitudes toward Blacks improving markedly. Whether the peo­ ple were department store clerks and customers, merchant marines, government workers, police officers, neighbors, or students, racial contact led to diminished prejudice (Amir, 1969; Pettigrew, 1969). For example, near the end of World War II, the U.S. Army partially desegregated some of its rifle companies (Stouffer & others, 1949). When asked their opinions of such desegregation, 11 percent of the White soldiers in segregated companies approved. Of those in desegregated companies, 60 percent approved. They exhibited “system justification”—the human tendency to approve the way things are.

When Morton Deutsch and Mary Collins (1951) took advantage of a made to-order natural experiment, they observed similar results. In accord with state law. New York City desegregated its public housing units; it assigned families to apartments without regard to race. In a similar development across the river in Newark, New Jersey, Blacks and Whites were assigned to separate buildings. When surveyed. White women in the desegregated development were far more likely to favor interracial housing and to say their attitudes toward Blacks had improved. Exaggerated stereotypes had wilted in the face of reality. As one woman put it, “I’ve really come to like it. 1 see they’re just as human as we are.”

Such findings influenced the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision to desegregate schools and helped fuel the 1960s civil rights movement (Pettigrew, 1986,2004). Yet initial studies of the effects of school desegregation were less encouraging. After reviewing all the available studies, Walter Stephan (1986) concluded that racial atti­ tudes had been little affected by desegregation. For Blacks, the noticeable effect of desegregated schooling was less on attitudes than on their increased likelihood of attending integrated (or predominantly White) colleges, living in integrated neigh­ borhoods, and working in integrated settings.

Thus, we can see that sometimes desegregation improves racial attitudes, and sometimes—especially when there is anxiety or perceived threat (Pettigrew, 2004)—it doesn’t. Such disagreements excite the scientist’s detective spirit. What explains the difference? So far, we’ve been lumping all kinds of desegregation together. Actual desegregation occurs in many ways and under vastly different conditions.


Given that “mere exposure” can produce liking (Chapter 11), might exposure to other-race faces produce increased liking for other-race strangers? Indeed yes, Leslie Zebrowitz and her colleagues (2008) discovered, when exposing White par­ ticipants to Asian and Black faces. Might the frequency of interracial contact also be a factor? Indeed it seems to be. Researchers have gone into dozens of desegre­ gated schools and observed with whom children of a given race eat, talk, and loiter. Race influences contact. Whites disproportionately associate with Whites, Blacks with Blacks (Schofield, 1982, 1986). In one study of Dartmouth University e-mail exchanges. Black students, though only 7 percent of students, sent 44 percent of their e-mails to other Black students (Sacerdote & Marmaros, 2005).

The same self-imposed segregation was evident in a South African desegregated beach, as John Dixon and Kevin Durrheim (2003) discovered when they recorded the location of Black, White, and Indian beachgoers one midsummer (Decem­ ber 30th) afternoon (Figure 13.5). Desegregated neighborhoods, cafeterias, and

498 Part Three Social Relations

FIGURE :: 13.5 Desegregation Needn’t Mean Contact After this Scottburgh, South Africa, beach became “open” and desegregated in the new South Africa, Blacks (represented by red dots), Whites (blue dots), and Indians (yellow dots) tended to cluster with their own race.

Source: From Dixon & Durrheim, 2003.

restaurants, too, may fail to produce integrated interactions (Clack & others, 2005; Dixon & others, 2005a, 2005b). “Why are all the Black kids sitting together?” people may wonder (a question that could as easily be asked of the White kids). One natu­ ralistic study observed 119 class sessions of 26 University of Cape Town tutorial groups, which averaged 6 Black and 10 White students per group (Alexander & Tredoux, 2010). On average, the researchers calculated, 71 percent of Black students would have needed to change seats to achieve a fully integrated seating pattern.

In one study that tracked the attitudes of more than 1,600 European students, over time, contact did serve to reduce prejudice. But prejudice also minimized con­ tact (Binder & others, 2009). Anxiety as well as prejudice helps explain why par­ ticipants in interracial relationships (when students are paired as roommates or as partners in an experiment) may engage in less intimate self-disclosure than those in same-race relationships (Johnson & others, 2009; Trail & others, 2009).

Efforts to facilitate contact sometimes help, but sometimes fall flat. “We had one day when some of the Protestant schools came over,” explained one Catholic youngster after a Northern Ireland school exchange (Cairns & Hewstone, 2002). “It was supposed to be like … mixing, but there was very little mixing. It wasn’t because we didn’t want to; it was just really awkward.” The lack of mixing stems partly from “pluralistic ignorance.” Many Whites and Blacks say they would like more contact but misperceive that the other does not reciprocate their feelings. (See “Research Close-Up; Relationships That Might Have Been.”)

FRIENDSHIP The encouraging older studies of store clerks, soldiers, and hous­ ing project neighbors involved considerable interracial contact, more than enough to reduce the anxiety that marks initial intergroup contact. Other studies show similar benefits when they involve prolonged, personal contact—between Black and White prison inmates, between Black and White girls in an interracial sum­ mer camp, between Black and White university roommates, and between Black, Colored, and White South Africans (Clore & others, 1978; Foley, 1976; Holtman & others, 2005; Van Laar & others, 2005). Among American students who have

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 499

research CLOSE UP Relationships That Might Have Been

Perhaps you can recall a time when you really would have liked to reach out to someone. Maybe it was someone to whom you felt attracted. But doubting that your feel­ ings were reciprocated, you didn’t risk rebuff. Or maybe it was someone of another race whom you wanted to welcome to the open seat at your dining hall or library table. But you worried that the person might be wary of sitting with you. It’s likely that on some such occasions the other person actually reciprocated your wish to con­ nect but assumed that your distance signified indiffer­ ence or even prejudice. Alas, thanks to what Chapter 8 called “pluralistic ignorance”—shared false impressions of another’s feelings—you passed like ships in the night.

Studies by University of Manitoba psychologist Jacquie Vorauer (2001,2005; Vorauer& Sakamoto, 2006) illuminate this phenomenon. In their new relationships, people often overestimate the transparency of their feelings, Vorauer reports. Presuming that their feelings are leaking out, they experience the “illusion of transparency (Chapter 2). Thus, they may assume that their body language conveys their romantic interest, when actually the intended recipi­ ent never gets the message. If the other person shares the positive feelings, and is similarly overestimating his or her own transparency, then the possibility of a relationship is quenched.

The same phenomenon, Vorauer reports, often occurs with low-prejudice people who would love more friend­ ships with those outside their racial or social group. If Whites presume that Blacks think them prejudiced, and

I if Blacks presume that Whites stereotype them, both will I feel anxious about making the first move. Such anxiety is i “a central factor” in South Africa’s “continuing informal I segregation,” reports Gillian Finchilescu (2CX)5). Seeking to I replicate and extend Vorauer’s work, Nicole Shelton and [ Jennifer Richeson (2005; Richeson & Shelton, 2012) under­

took a coordinated series of surveys and behavioral tests. In their first study. University of Massachusetts White

students viewed themselves as having more-than-average interest in cross-racial contacts and friendships, and they perceived White students in general as more eager for such than were Black students. Black students had mirror- image views—seeing themselves as more eager for such than were White students. “I want to have friendships across racial lines,” thought the typical student. But those in the other racial group don’t share my desire.”

Would this pluralistic ignorance generalize to a spe­ cific setting? To find out, Shelton and Richeson’s second study asked White Princeton students to imagine how they would react upon entering their dining hall and


noticing several Black (or White) “students who live near you sitting together.” How interested would you be in joining them? And how likely is it that one of them would beckon you to join them? Again, Whites believed that they more than those of the other race would be inter­ ested in the contact.

And how do people explain failures to make interra­ cial contact? In their third study, Shelton and Richeson invited Princeton White and Black students to contem­ plate a dining hall situation in which they notice a table with familiar-looking students of the other race, but nei­ ther they nor the seated students reach out to the other. The study participants, regardless of race, attributed their own inaction in such a situation primarily to fear of rejection, and more often attributed the seated students’ inaction to lack of interest. In a fourth study at Dartmouth University, Shelton and Richeson replicated this study with different instructions but similar results.

Would this pluralistic ignorance phenomenon extend to other real-life settings, and to contact with a single other person? In Study 5, Shelton and Richeson invited Princeton students, both Black and White, to a study of “friendship formation.” After participants had filled out some background information, the experimenter took their picture, attached it to background information, ostensibly took it to the room of a supposed fellow participant, and then returned with the other person’s sheet and photo- showing a person of the same sex but the other race. The participants were then asked, “To what extent are you con­ cerned about being accepted by the other participant?” and “How likely is it that the other person won’t want you as a friend?” Regardless of their race, the participants guessed that they, more than the other-race fellow participant, were interested in friendship but worried about rejection.

Do these social misperceptions constrain actual inter­ racial contact? In a sixth study, Shelton and Richeson confirmed that White Princeton students who were most prone to pluralistic ignorance—to presuming that they feared interracial rejection more than did Black students—were also the most likely to experience dimin­ ishing cross-racial contacts in the ensuing seven weeks.

Vorauer, Shelton, and Richeson are not contend­ ing that misperceptions alone impede romances and cross-racial friendships. But misperceptions do restrain people from risking an overture. Understanding this phenomenon—recognizing that others’ coolness may actually reflect motives and feelings similar to our own- may help us reach out to others, and sometimes to trans­ form potential friendships into real ones.

500 Part Three Social Relations

THE inside STORY

‘ : /t’

Nicole Shelton and Jennifer Richeson on Cross-Racial Friendships

During the initial stages of our collaboration, we spent time simply listening to each other talk about the stress associated with being assistant professors. We noticed that both White and ethnic minority students in our classes often indicated that they genuinely wanted to interact with people outside of their ethnic group but were afraid that they would not be accepted. However, they did not think people of other ethnic groups had the same fears; they assumed that members of other groups simply did not want to connect. This sounded very much like Dale Miller’s work on pluralistic ignorance. Over the course of a few weeks, we designed a series of studies to explore plu­ ralistic ignorance in the context of interracial interactions.

Since the publication of our article, we have had researchers tell us that we should use our work in new student orientation sessions in order to reduce students’

fears about reaching across racial lines. We are delighted that when we present this work in our courses, students of all racial backgrounds tell us that it indeed has opened their eyes about making the first move to develop inter­ racial friendships.

Nicole Shelton

Princeton University

Jennifer Richeson

Northwestern University

Studied in Germany or in Britain, the more their contact with host country people, the more positive their attitudes (Stangor & others, 1996). Exchange students’ hosts also are changed by the experience; they become more likely to see things from the other visitor culture’s perspective (Vollhardt, 2010).

In experiments, contact with someone of another race who acts positively (warm and relaxed) makes their race less salient—less likely to be noted and commented on than when their behavior is distant and tense (Paolini & others, 2010). Those who form friendships with outgroup members develop more positive attitudes toward the outgroup (Page-Gould & others, 2010; Pettigrew &: Tropp, 2000). It’s not just head knowledge of other people that matters; it’s also the emotional ties that form with intimate friendships and interracial roommate pairings that serve to reduce anxiety and increase empathy (Barlow & others, 2009; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2000, 2011; Shook & Fazio, 2008). For initially intolerant people, the anxiety-reducing effect of contact is especially strong (Hodson, 2011).

The diminishing anxiety that accompanies friendly outgroup interactions is a biological event: It is measurable as decreased stress hormone reactivity in cross­ ethnic contexts (Page-Gould & others, 2008).

“Group salience” (visibility) also helps bridge divides between people. If you forever think of that friend solely as an individual, your affective ties may not generalize to other members of the friend’s group (Miller, 2002). Ideally, then, we should form trusting friendships across group lines but also recognize that the friend represents those in another group—with whom we turn out to have much in common (Brown & others, 2007).

We are especially likely to befriend dissimilar people when their outgroup iden­ tity is initially minimized. If our liking for our new friends is then to generalize to others, their group identity must at some point become salient. So, to reduce preju­ dice and conflict, we had best initially minimize group diversity, then acknowledge it, then transcend it.

Surveys of nearly 4,000 Europeans reveal that friendship is a key to success­ ful contact: If you have a minority group friend, you become much more likely to express sympathy and support for the friend’s group, and even somewhat more

501Conflict and Peacemaking

support for immigration by that group. It’s true of West Geimans attitudes toward TurL, French people’s attitudes toward Asians and North Africans Netherland ers’ attitudes toward Surinamers and Turks, British attitudes toward West Indians and Asians, and Northern Ireland Protestants’ and Catholics’ attitudes toward eac other (Brown & others, 1999; Hamberger & Hewstone, 1997; Paolmi & others, 2004,

Pettigrew, 1997). EOUAL-STATUS CONTACT The social psychologists who advocated desegre­ gation never claimed that all contact would improve attitudes. They expected poor results when contacts were competitive, unsupported by (Pettigrew, 1988; Stephan, 1987). Before 1954 many prejudiced Whites had frequent contacts with Blacks—as shoeshine men and domestic workers As we saw m C ap- ter 9, such unequal contacts breed attitudes that merely justify inequality. So it’s important that the contact be equal-status contact, like that between the store clerks, the soldiers, the neighbors, the prisoners, and the suiter

In colleges and universities, informal interactions enabled by classroom ethn diversity pay divideirds for all students, report University of ^ntem7 Patricia Gurin and colleagues from national collegiate surveys (2002). Such inte tions tend to be intellectually growth-promoting and to difference. Such findings informed a U.S. Supreme Court 2003 decision that rac diversity is a compelling interest of higher education and may be a criterion m admissions.

Although equal-status contact can help, it is sometimes not enough. It didn help when Muzafer Sherif stopped the Eagles versus Rattlers compehtion and bro g the groups together for noncompetitive activities, such as watchmg movies, sho tag off fimwoAs, arrd eating. By that time, their hostility -s so strong that mere contact only provided opportunities for taunts and attacks. When an Eagle was dumped b/a Rattler, his fellow Eagles urged him to “brush off the dta.” Desegre-

gating the two groups hardly promoted their social integration.^ Sven entrenched host4 what can a peacemaker do? Think back to the suc­ cessful and the unsuccessful desegregation efforts. The army s racial companies didn’t just bring Blacks and Whites into equal-status contact, it ma them interdependent. Together, they were fighting a common enemy, stri g

Dofs^thars^glest a second factor that predicts whether the effect of desegre­

gation will be favorable? Does competitive contact divide and cooperative contac Lte? Consider what happens to people who together face a ^ ment. In conflicts at all levels, from couples to rival teams to nations, shared thre

and common goals breed unity.

COMMON EXTERNAL THREATS BUILD COHESIVENESS Together with others, have you ever been caught in a blizzard, punished by a teacher, or persecuted and ridiculed because of your social, racial or rd’g’ou® ‘^en­ tity? If so, you may recall feeling close to those with whom you shared *6 Predica- mLt Perhaps previous social barriers were dropped as you helped one anothe dig out of the sLw or struggled to cope with your common more extreme crises, such as a bombing, also often repor a spirit of cooperation and solidarity rather than all-for-themselves pamc (Drury & others, 2009).

Such friendliness is common among those who experience a shared tteeatjolm Lanzetta (1955) observed this when he put four-man groups of naval ROTC cadets to work on problem-solving tasks and then began informmg them that their answers were wrong, their productivity mexcusably ow, g pid. Other groups did not receive this harassment. Lanzetta observed that the gro p

Chapter 13

equal-status contact Contact on an equal basis. Just as a relationship between people of unequal status breeds attitudes consistent with their relationship, so do relationships between those of equal status. Thus, to reduce prejudice, interracial contact should idealy be between persons equal in status.

















502 Part Three Social Relations

H’lV sfreiken!

Shared predicaments trigger cooperation, as these Walmart workers on strike in Germany demonstrate.

members under duress became friendlier to one another more cooperative, less argumentative, less competitive Thev were in it together. And the result was a cohesive spirit. ^

Having a common enemy unified the groups of competing boys m Sherif’s camping experiments—and in many subs^ quent experiments (Dion, 1979). Just being reminded of an out­ group (say, a rival school) heightens people’s responsiveness to their own group (Wilder & Shapiro, 1984). When keenly conscious of who “they” are, we also know who “we” are. ^

When facing a well-defined external threat during war­ time, we-feeling soars. The membership of civic organizations mushrooms (Putnam, 2000). Shared threats also produce a pditical ‘rally ’round the flag” effect (Lambert & others, 2010) After 9/11, “old racial antagonisms… dissolved,” reported the New YorkTimes (Sengupta, 2001). “I just thought of myself as Black, said 18-year-old Louis Johnson, reflecting on life before 9/11. “But now I feel like Tm an American, more than

A 4.U £n /XT ^ divorce rates dropped in the aftemath of 9/11 (Hansel & others, 2011). One sampling of conversation 0^9/11, and aiiother of New York Mayor Giuliani’s press conferences before and after 9/11 found a doubled rate of the word “we” (Liehr & others, 2004; Pennebaker & Lay, 2002).

ratings reflected this threat-bred spirit of oresTdent P^’^^ident of 9/10 had become the halted L hfs t ^ 1 hate us.” Thereaf- (Hgure 13 6)^* gradually declined but then jumped again as the war in Iraq began

FIGURE :: 13.6 External Threats Breed Internal Unity As the ups and downs of President George Bush’s approval ratings illustrate, national conflicts mold public attitudes (Gallup, 2006).

503Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13

Even just imagining or fearing the extinction of one’s group often serves to strengthen ingroup solidarity (Wohl & others, 2010). Leaders may therefore create a threatening external enemy as a technique for building group cohesiveness. George Orwell’s novel 1984 illustrates the tactic: The leader of the protagonist nation uses border conflicts with the other two major powers to lessen internal strife. From time to time the enemy shifts, but there is always an enemy. Indeed, the nation seems to need an enemy. For the world, for a nation, for a group, having a common enemy is powerfully unifying. Thus, we can expect that Protestant-Cafiiolic religious differ­ ences that feel great in Northern Ireland or South America will feel more negligible to those living under Islamic regimes. Likewise, Sunni and Shia Islamic differences that feel great in Iraq will not seem so great to Muslims in countries where both must cope with anti-Muslim attitudes.

Might the world likewise find unity if facing a common enemy? On September 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan observed, “In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Per­ haps we need some outside, universal threat to recognize this common bond.” Two decades later, A1 Gore (2007) agreed, suggesting that, with the specter of climate change, “We—all of us—now face a universal threat. Though it is not from outside this world, it is nevertheless cosmic in scale.”




focus ON Why Do We Care Who Wins?

Why, for sports fans everywhere, does it matter who wins? Why does it matter to Bostonians whether two dozen mul­ timillionaire temporary Red Sox employees, most born in other states or countries, win the World Series? During the annual NCAA basketball “March Madness,” why do per­ fectly normal adults become insanely supportive of their team, and depressed when it loses? And why for that ulti­ mate sporting event. World Cup Football, do soccer fans worldwide dream of their country victorious?

Theory and evidence indicate that the roots of rivalry run deep. There’s something primal at work when the crowd erupts as the two rivals take the floor for a basketball game. There’s something tribal at work during the ensuing two hours of passion, all in response to the ups and downs

■I of a mere orange leather sphere. Our ancestors, living in a world where neighboring tribes occasionally raided and pillaged one another’s camps, knew that there was safety in solidarity. (Those who didn’t band together left fewer descendants.) Whether hunting, defending, or attacking, more hands were better than two. Dividing the world into “us” and “them” entails significant costs, such as racism and war, but also provides the benefits of communal soli­ darity. To identify us and them, our ancestors—not so far removed from today’s rabid fans—dressed or painted themselves in group-specific costumes and colors. Sports and warfare, notes evolutionary psychologist Benjamin Winegard (2010), are mostly done by males associated with geographical areas and wearing group-identifying uniforms. Both use war-relevant skills (running, tackling, throwing). And both offer rewards to the victors.

As social animals, we live in groups, cheer on our groups, kill for our groups, die for our groups. We also define ourselves by our groups. Our self-concept—our sense of who we are—consists not only of our personal attributes and attitudes but also of our social identity. Our social identities—our knowing who “we” are—strengthens self-concept and pride, especially when perceiving that “we” are superior. Lacking a positive individual identity, many youths find pride, power, and identity in gangs. Many patriots define themselves by their national identities.

The group definition of who we are also implies who we are not. Many social-psychological experiments reveal that being formed into groups—even arbitrary groups—promotes ingroup bias. Cluster people into groups defined by nothing more than their birth date or even the last digit of their driver’s license and they’ll feel a certain kinship with their number mates, and will show them favoritism. So strong is our group consciousness that “we” seem better than “they” even when “we” and “they” are defined randomly.

As post-9/11 America illustrates, group solidarity soars when people face a common enemy. As Muzafer Sherif’s Robber’s Camp experiment vividly demon­ strated, competition creates enemies. Fueled by com­ petition and unleashed by the anonymity of a crowd, passions can culminate in sport’s worst moments—fans taunting opponents, screaming at umpires, even pelting referees with beer bottles.

Group identification soars further with success. Fans find self-respect by their personal achievements but


504 Part Three Social Relations

also, in at least small measure, by their association with the victorious athletes when their team wins. Queried after a big football victory, university students commonly report that “we won” (Cialdini & others, 1976). As we noted in Chapter 9, they bask in reflected glory. Asked the outcome after a defeat, students more often dis­ tance themselves from the team by saying, “They lost.”

Ironically, we often reserve our most intense passions for rivals most similar to us. Freud long ago recognized that animosities formed around small differences: “Of two neighbouring towns, each is the other’s most jealous rival; every little canton looks down upon the others with contempt. Closely related races keep one another at arm’s length; the South German cannot endure the North German, the Englishman casts every kind of aspersion upon the Scot, the Spaniard despises the Portuguese.”

As an occasional resident of Scotland, I’ve witnessed many examples of the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Scots observation—that Scots divide non-Scots “into two main groups: (1) The English; (2) The Rest.” As rabid Chicago Cubs fans are happy if either the Cubs win or the White Sox lose, so ardent New Zealand soccer fans root for New Zealand and whoever is playing Australia (Halberstadt & others, 2006). Rabid fans of Scottish soccer likewise rejoice in either a Scotland victory or an England defeat. “Phew! They Lost,” rejoiced one Scottish tabloid front­ page headline after England’s 1996 Euro Cup defeat—by Germany, no less. To a sports fan, few things are so sweet as an archrival’s misfortune. Both a rival’s failure and a

favored team’s success activate pleasure-associated brain areas (Cikara & others, 2011).

Numerical minorities, such as the Scots in Britain, are especially conscious of their social identities. The 5 million Scots are more conscious of their national iden­ tity vis-a-vis the neighboring 51 million English than vice versa. Likewise, the 4 million New Zealanders are more conscious of their identity vis-a-vis the 23 million Australians, and they are more likely to root for Australia’s sports opponents (Halberstadt & others, 2006).

Group identity feeds, and is fed by, competition.

superordinate goal A shared goal that necessitates cooperative effort: a goal that overrides people’s differences from one another.


Closely related to the unifying power of an external threat is the unifying power of superordinate goals, goals that unite all in a group and require cooperative effort. To promote harmony among his warring campers, Sherif introduced such goals. He created a problem with the camp water supply, necessitating both groups’ cooperation to restore the water. Given an opportunity to rent a movie, one expen­ sive enough to require the joint resources of the two groups, they again cooperated. When a truck “broke down” on a camp excursion, a staff member casually left the tug-of-war rope nearby, prompting one boy to suggest that they all pull the truck to get it started. When it started, a backslapping celebration ensued over their victori­ ous “tug-of-war against the truck.”

After working together to achieve such superordinate goals, the boys ate together and enjoyed themselves around a campfire. Friendships sprouted across group lines. Hostilities plummeted (Figure 13.7). On the last day, the boys decided to travel home together on one bus. During the trip they no longer sat by groups. As the bus approached Oklahoma City and home, they, as one, spontaneously sang “Oklahoma” and then bade their friends farewell. With isolation and competition, Sherif made strangers into bitter enemies. With superordinate goals, he made enemies into friends.

Are Sherif’s experiments mere child’s play? Or can pulling together to achieve superordinate goals be similarly beneficial with adults in conflict? Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (1979) wondered. So in a series of two-week experiments involving more than 1,000 executives in 150 different groups, they re-created the essential features of the situation experienced by the Rattlers and the Eagles. Each group first

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 505

Ratings of outgroup, percent totally unfavorable

FIGURE :: 13.7 After competition, the Eagles and the Rattlers rated each other unfavorably. After they worked cooperatively to achieve superordinate goals, hostility dropped sharply. 5ou/‘ce:Data from Sherif, 1966, p.84.

engaged in activities by itself, then competed with another group, and then cooper­ ated with the other group in working toward jointly chosen superordinate goals. Their results provided “unequivocal evidence that adult reactions parallel those of Sherif’s younger subjects.”

Extending those findings, John Dovidio, Samuel Gaertner, and their collaborators (2005, 2009) report that working cooperatively has especially favorable effects under conditions that lead people to define a new, inclusive group that dissolves their for­ mer subgroups. Old feelings of bias against another group diminish when members of the two groups sit alternately around a table (rather than on opposite sides), give their new group a single name, and then work together under conditions that fos­ ter a good mood. “Us” and “them” become “we.” To combat Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II, the United States and the former USSR, along with other nations, formed one united group named the Allies. So long as the superordinate goal of defeating a common enemy lasted, so did supportive U.S. attitudes toward the Russians. Economic interdependence through international trade also motivates peace. “Where goods cross frontiers, armies won’t,” notes Michael Shermer (2006). With so much of China’s economy now interwoven with Western economies, their economic interdependence diminishes the likelihood of war between China and the West.

The cooperative efforts by the Rattlers and the Eagles ended in success. Would the same harmony have emerged if the water had remained off, the movie unaffordable, the truck still stalled? Likely not. In experiments with Univer­ sity of Virginia students, Stephen Worchel and his associ­ ates (1977, 1978, 1980) confirmed that successful cooperation between two groups boosts their attraction for each other. If previously conflicting groups fail in a cooperative effort, how­ ever, and if conditions allow them to attribute their failure to each other, the conflict may worsen. Sherif’s groups were already feeling hostile to each other. Thus, failure to raise sufficient funds for the movie might have been attributed to one group’s “stinginess” and “selfishness.” That would have exacerbated rather than alleviated their conflict. Unity is fed

Promoting “common ingroup identity.” The banning of gang colors and the common European practice of school uniforms—an increasing trend in the United States, as

506 Part Three

Interracial cooperation—on athletic teams, in class projects and extracurricular activities—melts differences and improves racial attitudes. White teen athletes who play cooperative team sports (such as basketball) with Black teammates express more liking and support for Blacks than do their counter­ parts involved in individual sports (such as wrestling) (Brown & others, 2003).

Social Relations


So far we have noted the modest social benefits of desegregation if unaccompanied by the emotional bonds of friendship and by equal-status relationships. And we have noted the dramatic social benefits of successful, cooperative contacts between members of rival groups. Several research teams therefore wondered: Without compromising academic achievement, could we promote interracial friendships by replacing competitive learning situations with cooperative ones? Given the diver­ sity of their methods—all involving students on integrated study teams, sometimes m competition with other teams—the results are striking and heartening.

Are students who participate in existing cooperative activities, such as interracial athletic teams and class projects, less prejudiced? In one experiment. White youth on two- to three-week Outward Bound expeditions (involving intimate contact and cooperation) expressed improved attitudes toward Blacks a month after the expedi­ tion if they had been randomly assigned to an interracial expedition group (Green & Wong, 2008).

Robert Slavin and Nancy Madden (1979) analyzed survey data from 2,400 stu­ dents in 71 American high schools and found similarly encouraging results. Those of different races who play and work together are more likely to report having friends of another race and to express positive racial attitudes. Charles Green and his colleagues (1988) confirmed this in a study of 3,200 Florida middle-school stu­ dents. Compared with students at traditional, competitive schools, those at schools with interracial ‘Teaming teams” had more positive racial attitudes.

From such correlational findings, can we conclude that cooperative interracial activity improves racial attitudes? The way to find out is to experiment. Randomly designate some students, but not others, to work together in racially mixed groups. Slavin (1985; Slavin & others, 2003, 2009) and his colleagues divided classes into interracial teams, each composed of four or five students from all achievement lev­ els. Team members sat together, studied a variety of subjects together, and at the end of each week competed with the other teams in a class tournament. All members contributed to their team’s score by doing well, sometimes by competing with other students whose recent achievements were similar to their own, sometimes by com­ peting with their own previous scores. Everyone had a chance to succeed. More­ over, team members were motivated to help one another prepare for the weekly tournament by drilling each other on fractions, spelling, or historical events— whatever was the next event. Rather than isolating students from one another, team competition brought them into closer contact and drew out mutual support.

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 507

Cooperation and peace. Researchers have identified more than 40 peaceful societies—societies v/here people live with no, or virtually no, recorded instances of violence. An analysis of 25 of these societies, including the Amish shown here, reveals that most base their worldviews on cooperation rather than competition (Bonta,1997).

Another research team, led by Elliot Aronson (2004; Aronson & Gonzalez, 1988), elicited similar group cooperation with a “jigsaw” technique. In experiments in Texas and California elementary schools, the researchers assigned children to racially and academically diverse 6-member groups. The subject was then divided into six parts, with each student becoming the expert on his or her part. In a unit on Chile, one student might be the expert on Chile’s history, another on its geography, another on its culture. First, the various “historians,” “geographers,” and so forth got together to master their material. Then they returned to the home groups to teach it to their classmates. Each group member held, so to speak, a piece of the jigsaw.

Self-confident students therefore had to listen to and learn from reticent stu­ dents who, in turn, soon realized they had something important to offer their peers. Other research teams—led by David Johnson and Roger Johnson (1987, 2003, 2004, 2010) at the University of Miimesota, Elizabeth Cohen (1980) at Stanford Univer­ sity, Shlomo Sharan and Yael Sharan (1976,1994) at Tel Aviv University, and Stuart Cook (1985) at the University of Colorado—devised additional methods for cooper­ ative learning. Studies (148 of them across eleven countries) show that adolescents, too, have more positive peer relationships and may even achieve more when work­ ing cooperatively rather than competitively (Roseth & others, 2008).

What can we conclude from all this research? With cooperative learning, students learn not only the material but other lessons. Cooperative learning, said Slavin and Cooper (1999), promotes “the academic achievement of all students while simulta­ neously improving intergroup relahons.” Aronson reported that “children in the interdependent, jigsaw classrooms grow to like each other better, develop a greater liking for school, and develop greater self-esteem than children in traditional classrooms” (1980, p. 232).

Cross-racial friendships also begin to blossom. The exam scores of minority students improve (perhaps because academic achievement is now peer supported). After the experiments are over, many teachers continue using cooperative learning (D. W. Johnson & others, 1981; Slavin, 1990). “It is clear,” wrote race-relations expert John McConahay (1981), that cooperative learning “is the most effective practice for improving race relations in desegregated schools that we know of to date.”

Should we have “known it all along”? At the time of the 1954 Supreme Court decision, Gordon Allport spoke for many social psychologists in predicting that “Prejudice… may be reduced by equal status contact between majority and minority









MY OWN WAY.” 2003

508 Part Three Social Relations

groups in the pursuit of common goals” (1954, p. 281). Cooperative learning experi­ ments confirmed Allport’s insight, making Robert Slavin and his colleagues (1985, 2003) optimistic: “Thirty years after Allport laid out the basic principles operational­ ized in cooperative learning methods, we finally have practical, proven methods for implementing contact theory in the desegregated classroom…. Research on coopera­ tive learning is one of the greatest success stories in the history of educational research.”

focus ON Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, and the integration of Baseball

On April 10, 1947, a nineteen-word announcement forever changed the face of baseball and put social-psychological principles to the test: “The Brooklyn Dodgers today pur­ chased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from the Montreal Royals, He will report immediately.” Five days later, Robinson became the first African American since 1887 to play major league baseball. In the fall, Dodger fans realized their dreams of going to the World Series. Robinson, after enduring racial taunts, beanballs, and spikes, was voted Sporting News rookie of the year, and in a poll finished second to Bing Crosby as the most popular man in America, Baseball’s racial barrier was forever broken.

Motivated by both his Methodist morality and a drive for baseball success. Major League baseball executive Branch Rickey had been planning the move for some time, report social psychologists Anthony Pratkanis and Marlene Turner (1994a, 1994b). Three years earlier, Rickey had been asked by the sociologist-chair of the Mayor’s Committee on Unity to desegregate his team. His response was to ask for time (so the hiring would not be attributed to pressure) and for advice on how best to do it. In 1945 Rickey was the only owner voting against keeping Blacks out of baseball. In 1947 he made his move using these principles identified by Pratkanis and Turner:

• Create a perception that change is inevitable. Leave little possibility that protest or resistance can turn back the clock. The team’s radio announcer. Red Barber, a traditional southerner, recalled that in 1945 Rickey took him to lunch and explained very slowly and strongly that his scouts were searching for “the first black player I can put on the white Dodgers. I don’t know who he is or where he is, but, he is coming.” An angered Barber at first intended to quit, but in time decided to accept the inevitable and keep the world’s “best sports announcing job.” Rickey was equally matter-of-fact with the players in 1947, offering to trade any player who didn’t want to play with Robinson.

• Establish equal-status contact with a superordinate goal. One sociologist explained to Rickey that when relationships focus on an overarching goal, such as winning the pennant, “the people involved would

adjust appropriately.” One of the players who had been initially opposed later helped Robinson with his hitting, explaining, “When you’re on a team, you got to pull together to win.”

• Puncture the norm of prejudice. Rickey led the way, but others helped. Team leader, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, a southerner, set a pattern of sitting and eat­ ing with Robinson. One day in Cincinnati, as the crowd was hurling slurs—”get the nigger off the field”—Reese left his shortstop position, walked over to Robinson at first base, smiled and spoke to him, and then—with a hushed crowd watching—put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder.

• Cut short the spiral of violence by practicing nonvio­ lence. Rickey, wanting “a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back,” role-played for Robinson the kind of insults and dirty play he would experience and gained Robinson’s commitment not to return vio­ lence with violence. When Robinson was taunted and spiked, he left the responses to his teammates. Team cohesion was thereby increased.

Robinson and Bob Feller later became the first play­ ers in baseball history elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. As he received the award, Robinson asked three persons to stand beside him: his mother, his wife, and his friend Branch Rickey.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey

509Conflict and Peacemaking

To sum up, cooperative, equal-status contacts exert a positive influence on boy campers, industrial executives, college students, and schoolchildren. Does the prin­ ciple extend to all levels of human relations? Are families imified by pulling together to farm the land, restore an old house, or sail a sloop? Are communal identities forged by bam raisings, group singing, or cheering on the football team? Is inter­ national understanding bred by international collaboration in science and space, by joint efforts to feed the world and conserve resources, by friendly personal contacts between people of different nations? Indications are that the answer to all of those questions is yes (Brewer & Miller, 1988; Desforges & others, 1991,1997; Deutsch, 1985, 1994). Thus, an important challenge facing our divided world is to identify and agree on our superordinate goals and to structure cooperative efforts to achieve them.

GROUP AND SUPERORDINATE IDENTITIES In everyday life, we often reconcile multiple identities (Gaertner & others, 2000, 2001). We acknowledge our subgroup identity (as parent or child) and then tran­ scend it (sensing our superordinate identity as a family). Pride in our ethnic heri­ tage can complement our larger communal or national identity. Being mindful of our muUipk social identities that we partially share with anyone else enables social cohesion (Brewer & Pierce, 2005; Crisp & Hewstone, 1999,2000). “I am many things, some of which you are, too.”

But in ethnically diverse cultures, how do people balance their ethnic identities with their national identities? They may have a “bicultural” or “omnicultural” identity, one that identifies with both the larger culture and one’s own ethnic and religious culture (Moghaddam, 2009,2010; Phinney, 1990). “In many ways, I am like everyone around me, but I also affirm my own cultural heritage.” Thus, ethnically conscious Asians liv­ ing in England may also feel strongly British (Hutnik, 1985). French Canadians who identify with their ethnic roots may or may not also feel strongly Canadian (Driedger, 1975). Hispanic Americans who retain a strong sense of their “Cubanness” (or of their Mexican or Puerto Rican heritage) may feel strongly American (Roger & others, 1991). As W. E. B. DuBois (1903, p. 17) explained in The Souls of Black Folk, “The American Negro [longs]… to be both a Negro and an American.”

Over time, identification with a new culture often grows. Former East and West Germans come to see themselves as “German” (Kessler & Mummendey, 2001). The children of Chinese immigrants to Australia and the United States feel their Chinese identity somewhat less keenly, and their new national identity more strongly, than do immigrants who were bom in China (Rosenthal & Feldman, 1992). Often, however, the grandchildren of immigrants feel more comfortable iden­ tifying with their ethnicity (Triandis, 1994).

Researchers have wondered whether pride in one’s group competes with iden­ tification with the larger culture. As we noted in Chapter 9, we evaluate ourselves partly in terms of our social identities. Seeing our own group (our school, our employer, our family, our race, our nation) as good helps us feel good about our­ selves. A positive ethnic identity can therefore contribute to positive self-esteem. So can a positive mainstream culture identity. “Marginal” people, who have nei­ ther a strong ethnic nor a strong mainstream cultural identity (Table 13.1), often have low self-esteem. Bicultural people, who affirm both identities, typically

TABLE :: 13.1 Ethnic and Cultural Identity

Identification with Ethnic Group

Identification with Majority Group Strong Weak



Bicultural Assimilated

Chapter 13
















510 Part Three Social Relations

A difficult balancing act. These ethnically conscious French Canadians— supporting Bill 101 “live French in Quebec”—may or may not also feel strongly Canadian. As countries become more ethnically diverse, people debate how we can build societies that are both plural and unified.

bargaining Seeking an agreement to a conflict through direct negotiation between parties.

mediation An attempt by a neutral third party to resolve a conflict by facilitating communication and offering suggestions.

arbitration Resolution of a conflict by a neutral third party who studies both sides and imposes a settlement.

have a strongly positive self-concept (Phinney, 1990; see also Sam & Berry, 2010). Often, they alternate between their two cultures, adapting their language and behavior to whichever group they are with (LaFromboise & others, 1993).

Debate continues over the ideals of multiculturalism (celebrating differ­ ences) versus assimilation (meshing one’s values and habits with the prevail­ ing culture). On one side are those who believe, as the Department of Canadian Heritage (2006) has declared, that “mul­ ticulturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them open to and accepting of diverse cultures.” On the other side are those who concur with Britain’s Com­ mission for Racial Equality chair, Trevor Phillips (2004), in worrying that mul­ ticulturalism separates people. Experi­ ments by Jacquie Vorauer and Stacey Sasaki (2011) showed that in threatening situations, highlighting multicultural dif­

ferences enhanced hostility. Focusing on differences prompted people to attend and attach meaning to outgroup members’ threatening behaviors. An alternative com­ mon values view inspired the Rwandan government to declare “there is no eth­ nicity here. We are all Rwandan.” In the aftermath of Rwanda’s ethnic bloodbath, government documents and government-controlled radio and newspapers have ceased mentioning Hutu and Tutsi (Lacey, 2004).

In the space between multiculturalism and assimilation lies “diversity within unity,” an omnicultural perspective advocated by cultural psychologist Fathali Moghaddam (2009, 2010) and by sociologist Amitai Etzioni and others (2005): “It presumes that all members of a given society will fully respect and adhere to those basic values and institutions that are considered part of the basic shared framework of the society. At the same time, every group in society is free to maintain its distinct subculture—those policies, habits, and institutions that do not conflict with the shared core.”

By forging unifying ideals, immigrant countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia have avoided ethnic wars. In these countries, Irish and Italians, Swedes and Scots, Asians and Africans seldom kill in defense of their eth­ nic identities. Nevertheless, even the immigrant nations struggle between separa­ tion and wholeness, between people’s pride in their distinct heritage and unity as one nation, between acknowledging the reality of diversity and questing for shared values. The ideal of diversity within unity forms the United States motto: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

Communication Conflicting parties have other ways to resolve their differences. When husband and wife, or labor and management, or nation X and nation Y disagree, they can bargain with each other directly. They can ask a third party to mediate by making suggestions and facilitating their negotiations. Or they can arbitrate by submitting their disagreement to someone who will study the issues and impose a settlement.

511Conflict and Peacemaking

BARGAINING If vou want to buy or sell a new car, are you better off adopting a tough bargain- mg stance-opening with an extreme offer so that splitting the difference wdl yield a favorable result? Or are you better off beginnmg with a sincere good-

Experiments suggest no simple answer. On the one hand, those who demand more will often get more. Robert Cialdini, Leonard Bickman, and John Cacioppo (1979) provide a typical result: In a control condition, they approached various Chevrolet dealers and asked the price of a new Monte Carlo sports coupe with designated options. In an experimental condition, they approached other dealers and first struck a tougher bargaining stance, asking for and rejecting a price on a different car (“I need a lower price than that. That’s a lot”). When they theri asked the price of the Monte Carlo, exactly as in the control condition, they received offers that averaged some $200 lower. ^

Tough bargaining may lower the other party’s expectations, makmg the other side willing to settle for less (Yukl, 1974). But toughness can sometimes back- fire Many a conflict is not over a pie of fixed size but over a pie that shrinks if the conflict continues. A time delay is often a lose-lose scenario. When a strike is pro­ longed, both labor and management lose. Being tough is another potential lo^-lose scenario. If the other party responds with an equally tough stance, both may be locked into positions from which neither can back down without losing face. In the weeks before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the first President Bush threatened, m the full glare of pubUcity, to “kick Saddam’s ass.” Saddam Hussein, no less macho, threatened to make “infidel” Americans “swim in their own blood.” After such belligerent state­ ments, it was difficult for each side to evade war and save face.

MEDIATION A third-party mediator may offer suggestions that enable conflicting parties to make concessions and still save face (Pruitt, 1998). If my concession can be attrib­ uted to a mediator, who is gaining an equal concession from my antagonist, neither of us will be viewed as weakly caving in. TURNING WIN-LOSE INTO WIN-WIN Mediators also help resolve conflicts by facilitating constructive communication. Their first task is to help the parties rethink the conflict and gain information about the others’ interests. Typically, peo­ ple on both sides have a competitive “win-lose” orientation: They are successful if their opponent is unhappy with the result, and unsuccessful if theu opponent is pleased (Thompson & others, 1995). The mediator aims to replace this win-lose orientation with a cooperative “win-win” orientation, by prodding both sides to set aside their conflicting demands and instead to think about needs, interests, and goals. In experiments, Leigh Thompson (1990a, 1990b) found that, with experience, negotiators become better able to make mutually beneficial trade-offs and thus to achieve win-win resolutions.

A classic story of such a resolution concerns the two sisters who quarreled over an orange (Follett, 1940). Finally they compromised and split the orange in halt, whereupon one sister squeezed her half for juice while the other used the peel on her half to make a cake. If the sisters had each explained why they wanted the orange, they very likely would have agreed to share it, giving one sister all t^e Juice and the other all the peel. This is an example of an integrative agreement (Pruitt & Lewis, 1975,1977). Compared with compromises, in which each party sacrifices something important, integrative agreements are more enduring, because they are mutually rewarding, they also lead to better ongoing relationships (Pruitt, 1986).

UNRAVELING MISPERCEPTIONS WITH CONTROLLED COMMUNICA­ TIONS Communication often helps reduce self-fulfilling misperceptions. Per­ haps you can recall experiences similar to that of this college student:

Chapter 13

integrative agreements Win-win agreements that reconcile both parties’ interests to their mutual benefit.

512 Part Three Social Relations

Often, after a prolonged period of little communication, I perceive Martha’s silence as a sign of her dislike for me. She, in turn, thinks that my quietness is a result of my being mad at her. My silence induces her silence, which makes me even more silent… until this snowballing effect is broken by some occurrence that makes it necessary for us to interact. And the communication then unravels all the misinterpretations we had made about one another.

The outcome of such conflicts often depends on how people communicate their feelings to one another. Roger Knudson and his colleagues (1980) invited married couples to come to the University of Illinois psychology laboratory and relive, through role playing, one of their past conflicts. Before, during, and after their conversation {which often generated as much emotion as the actual previ­ ous conflict), the couples were observed closely and questioned. Couples who evaded the issue—by failing to make their positions clear or failing to acknowledge their spouse’s position—left with the illusion that they were more in harmony and agreement than they really were. Often, they came to believe they now agreed more when actually they agreed less. In contrast, those who engaged the issue—by mak­ ing their positions clear and by taking one another’s views into account—achieved more actual agreement and gained more accurate information about one anoth­ er s perceptions. That helps explain why couples who communicate their concerns directly and openly are usually happily married (Crush & Glidden, 1987).

Such findings have triggered programs that train couples and children how to manage conflicts constructively (Horowitz and Boardman, 1994). If managed con­ structively, conflict provides opportunities for reconciliation and more genuine harmony. Psychologists Ian Gotlib and Catherine Colby (1988) offer advice on how to avoid destructive quarrels and how to have good quarrels (Table 13.2). Chil­ dren, for example, learn that conflict is normal, that people can learn to get along with those who are different, that most disputes can be resolved with two winners, and that nonviolent communication strategies are an alternative to a world of bul­ lies and victims. This “violence prevention curriculum … is not about passivity,” noted Deborah Prothrow-Stith (1991, p. 183). “It is about using anger not to hurt oneself or one’s peers, but to change the world.”

David Johnson and Roger Johnson (1995, 2000, 2003) put first-grade through ninth-grade children through about a dozen hours of conflict resolution training in six schools, with very heartening results. Before the training, most students

TABLE 13.2 How Couples Can Fight Constructively

Do Not Do

1* * * evade die argument, give the silent treatm^t, walk out on it • use your intimate knowledge of the other

person to hit below the belt and humiliate

•T’ * bring in unrelated issues^

• feign agreement while harboring resentment

^ * |eiU the other party how she or he is feeling

• attack indirectly by criticizing someone or something the other person values

I * undermine the other by intensifying his or j; her insecurity or threatening disaster

• clearly define the issue and repeat the other’s arguments in your own words

• divulge your positive and negative feelings

• welcome feedback about your behavior

• clarify where you agree and disagree and what matters most to each of you

‘ ask questions that help the oflier find words to express the concern

’ wait for spontaneous explosions to subside, without retaliating

offer positive suggestions for mut|i^f §

Conflict and Peacemaking Chapter 13 513

Communication facilitators work to breakdown barriers, as in this diversity training exercise for teenagers.

were involved in daily conflicts—put-downs and teasing, playground turn-takmg conflicts, conflicts over possessions-conflicts that nearly always also resulted m a winner and a loser. After training, the children more often found win-win solutions, better mediated friends’ conflicts, and retained and applied their new skills in and out of school throughout the school year. When implemented with a whole student body, the result is a more peaceful student community and increased academic

Co^mct researchers report that a key factor is trust (Noor & others, 2008; Ross & Ward 1995). If you believe the other person is well intentioned, you are more likely to divulge your needs and concerns. Lacking trust, you may fear that bemg open will give the other party information that might be used against you. Even sim­ ple behaviors can enhance trust. In experiments, negotiators who were instructed to mimic the others’ mannerisms, as naturally empathic people in close relation­ ships often do, elicited more trust and greater discovery of compatible mterests and mutually satisfying deals (Maddux & others, 2008).

When the two parties mistrust each other and communicate unproductively, a third-party mediator—a marriage counselor, a labor mediator, a diplomat—sometimes helps. Often the mediator is some­ one trusted by both sides. In the 1980s it took an Algerian Muslim to mediate the conflict between Iran and Iraq, and the pope to resolve a geographical dispute between Argentina and Chile (Carnevale & Choi, 2000).

After coaxing the conflicting parties to rethink their perceived win-lose conflict, the mediator often has each party identify and rank its goals. When goals are compatible, the ranking procedure makes it easier for each to concede on less-important goals so that both achieve their chief goals (Erickson & others, 1974; Schulz & Pruitt, 1978). South Africa achieved internal peace when Black and White South Africans











Trust, like other social behaviors, is also a biological phenomenon. Social neuroscientists have found that individuals with lowered levels of serotonin, the brain neurotransmitter, become more likely to see a low offer in a laboratory game as unfair, and to reject it (Crockett & others, 2008). Infusions of the hormone oxytocin have something of an opposite effect, increasing people’s trust of strangers in laboratory games (Zak, 2008).

514 Part Three Social Relations

with majority rule and safeguarding the security, welfare, and rights of Whites (Kelman, 1998).

When labor and management both believe that management’s goal of higher productivity and profit is compatible with labor’s goal of better wages and working conditions, they can begin to work for an integrative win-win solution. If workers will forgo benefits that are moderately beneficial to them but very costly to man­ agement (perhaps company-provided dental care), and if management will forgo moderately valuable arrangements that workers very much resent (perhaps inflex­ ibility of working hours), both sides may gain (Ross & Ward, 1995). Rather than seeing itself as making a concession, each side can see the negotiation as an effort to exchange bargaining chips for things more valued.

When the parties then convene to communicate directly, they are usually not set loose in the hope that, eyeball-to-eyeball, the conflict will resolve itself. In the midst of a threatening, stressful conflict, emotions often disrupt the ability to understand the other party’s point of view. Although happiness and gratitude can increase trust, anger decreases it (Dunn & Schweitzer, 2005). Communication may thus become most difficult just when it is most needed (Tetlock, 1985).

The mediator will often structure the encounter to help each party understand and feel understood by the other. The mediator may ask the conflicting parties to restrict their arguments to statements of fact, including statements of how they feel and how they respond when the other acts in a given way: “I enjoy music. But when you play it loud, I find it hard to concentrate. That makes me crabby.” Also, the mediator may ask people to reverse roles and argue the other’s position or to imagine and explain what the other person is experiencing. The mediator may have them restate one another’s positions before replying with their own: “It annoys you when I play my music and you’re trying to study.”

Experiments show that taking the other’s perspective and inducing empathy decreases stereotyping and increases cooperation (Batson & Moran, 1999; Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000; Todd & others, 2011). It helps to humanize rather than demonize the other. Older people often find that easier to do, by having the wisdom to appreci­ ate multiple perspectives and the limits of knowledge (Grossmann & others, 2010). Sometimes our elders are older, wiser, and better able to navigate social conflicts.

Neutral third parties may also suggest mutually agreeable proposals that would be dismissed—”reactively devalued”—if offered by either side. Constance StiUinger and her colleagues (1991) found that a nuclear disarmament proposal that Americans dismissed when attributed to the former Soviet Union seemed more acceptable when attributed to a neutral third party. Likewise, people will often reactively devalue a concession offered by an adversary (“they must not value it”); the same concession may seem more than a token gesture when suggested by a third party.

These peacemaking principles—based partly on laboratory experiments, partly on practical experience—have helped mediate both interna­ tional and industrial conflicts (Blake & Mouton, 1962, 1979; Fisher, 1994; Wehr, 1979). One small team of Arab and Jewish Americans, led by social psychologist Herbert Kelman (1997, 2007, 2008), has conducted workshops bringing together influential Arabs and Israelis. Kelman and col­ leagues counter misperceptions and have partici­ pants seek creative solutions for their common good. Isolated, the participants are free to speak

Building trust, enabling communication. When President Obama and his political antagonist, House Republican leader John Boehner, played golf, they were each attempting to enhance their relationship and enhance their ability to communicate.

515Conflict and Peacemaking

directly to their adversaries without fear that their constituents are second-guessing what tLy are saying. The result? Those from both sides typically come to under­ stand the^ther’s perspective and how the other side responds to their own group s


arbitration Some conflicts are so intractable, the underlying interests so divergent, that a mutu- X satisfactory resolution is unattainable. Conflicting claims to Jerusalem as the capital of an dependent Palestine versus a secure Israel have, so far, proven inhactable. In a divorce dispute over custody of a child, both parents canno enjoy fuU custody. In those and many other cases (disputes over tenants repair bills, aft ktes’ wages, and national territories), a third-party mediator may-or may not

M not the parties may turn to arbitration by having the mediator or another tod

party impose a settlement. Disputants usually prefer to Lt arbitration so that they retain control over the outcome. Neil “ others (1987) observed this preference in an experiment involving disputants com ing to a dispute settlement center. When people knew they would face an a^’^ted settlement if mediation failed, they tried harder to resolve the problem, exhibited less hostility, and thus were more likely to reach agreement.

In cases where differences seem large and irreconcilable, the prospect of arbitra­ tion may cause the disputants to freeze their positions, hopmg to gam an adv^- tage when the arbitrator chooses a compromise. To combat that tendency, so difputes, such as those involving salaries of individual baseball with “final-offer arbitration,” in which the third party chooses one of the two final offers. Final-offer arbitration motivates each party to make a reasonab e _

Typically, however, the final offer is not as reasonable as it would be if each parw free of self-serving bias, saw its own proposal through others eyes. Negoha- hon researchers report that most disputants are made stubborn by optimistic ove confidTce” (KahnLan & Tversky, 1995). Successful mediation is hmdered when as often happens, both parties believe they have a two-thirds chance of wmnmg final-offer arbitration (Bazerman, 1986,1990).

Conciliation Sometimes tension and suspicion run so high that even communication, let a one resolution, becomes all but impossible. Each party may threaten, coerce, or retaliate against the other. Unfortunately, such acts tend to be reciprocated, escalahng the cLflict So, would a strategy of appeasing the other party by being unconditionally cooperative produce a satisfying result? Often not. In laboratory games, ‘hose wto are 100 percent cooperative often are exploited. Politically, a one-sided pacifis

usually out of the question.

^cklpsychologlstCharles Osgood (1962,1980) advocated a third alternative one that is concmLry yet strong enough to discourage exploitoon. C^good called it grad ated and reciprocated initiatives in tension reduchon.” He mcknamed it GRIT a laW that suggests the determination it requires. GRIT aims to reverse the conflict spiral by triggering reciprocal de-escalation. To do so, it draws upon social-psychological concepts such as the norm of reciprocity and the attribution of motives.

GRH requires one side to initiate a few small de-escalatory actions, after aniioim^ ing a concilltory intent. The initiator states its desire to reduce conciliatory act before making it, and invites the adversary to reciprocate Such announcements create a framework that helps the adversary correctly interpret what otherwise might be seen as weak or tricky actions. They also brmg pubhc pressure to bear on the adversary to follow the reciprocity norm.

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