Empathising with the enemy: emotion regulation and support for humanitarian aid in violent conflicts

Guy Roth, Noa Shane, Yaniv Kanat-Maymon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Considering that negative intergroup emotions can hinder conflict resolution, we proposed integrative emotion regulation (IER) as possibly predicting conciliatory policies towards outgroups in violent conflict. Two studies examined Jewish Israelis’ self-reported IER, empathy, liberal attitudes, and support for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Study 1 (N = 298) found that unlike reappraisal Jewish Israelis’ ability to explore emotions (e.g. IER) promoted concern for others’ emotions (empathy), which in turn predicted support for humanitarian aid (while controlling for education level, and religiosity). Study 2 (N = 291) replicated this mediation model, additionally confirming that liberal attitudes (upholding equal, fair treatment for minorities) moderated the relation between IER and support for humanitarian aid. Thus, IER linked more strongly with humanitarian support when the commitment for liberal egalitarian beliefs was high. Preliminary results hold important theoretical and practical implications regarding the potential to empathise with outgroup members in intractable conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1524
Number of pages14
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Emotion regulation
  • empathy
  • integration
  • intractable conflicts
  • reappraisal

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