Conflict (Chess II)

…research involved the participation of almost 3,000 people: Israelis and Palestinians in the Mideast, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. The study shows each side felt their own group is motivated by love more than hate, but when asked why their rival group is involved in the conflict, pointed to hate as that group’s motivating factor. This idea is called “motive attribution asymmetry,” one group’s belief that their rivals are motivated by emotions opposite to their own. The idea is driven by a group seeing its own members engaged in acts of “love, care, and affiliation” but, as the report points out, “rarely (observing) these actions amongst (opponents) because we only see them during moments of heated conflict.”
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“It’s interesting to see that people can be blind to the source of behavior on the other side, that you can go from saying you are motivated by love of your own group and you can’t seem to apply that to reasoning about the other side,” says Liane Young, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Boston College…
“What we also found was that these attributions tend to also track with other sorts of consequences so if you think that the people on the other side are motivated by their hatred of your group, you also are unwilling to negotiate with that group,” continues Dr. Young. “You tend to think they’re more unreasonable, suggesting that people’s misattributions of other groups may be the cause of intractable conflict.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where motive attribution asymmetry provides the conflict. Use inner monologue to illuminate the thoughts behind the conflict.

Journaling Prompt: Think of something you feel strongly about. Examine what you believe motivate that belief. What do you believe about people who hold the opposite belief?

Art Prompt: Motive attribution asymmetry

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about motive attribution asymmetry and give them ways that they can use this knowledge to create common ground when involved in a conflict.

Photo Credit: Cristian V. on Flickr

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