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Published: 09 January 2018

Testing the Impact and Durability of Group Malleability Intervention

New publication in PNAS by Dr Smadar Cohen-Chen of the Department of People and Organisations 

Group of people in a class having a discussion

Goldenberg, A., Cohen-Chen, S., Goyer, J. P., Dweck, C. S., Gross, J. J., & Halperin, E. (in press). Testing the impact and durability of group malleability intervention in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Proceedings of National Academy of Science

Fostering perceptions of group malleability (teaching people that groups are capable of change and improvement) has been shown to lead to short-term improvements in intergroup attitudes and willingness to make concessions in intractable conflicts. The present study, a field intervention involving 508 Israelis from three locations in Israel, replicated and substantially extended those findings by testing the durability of a group malleability intervention during a 6-month period of frequent violence. Three different 5-hour-long interventions were administered as leadership workshops. The group malleability intervention was compared with a neutral coping intervention and, importantly, with a state-of-the-art perspective-taking intervention. The group malleability intervention proved superior to the coping intervention in improving attitudes, hope, and willingness to make concessions, and maintained this advantage during a 6-month period of intense intergroup conflict. Moreover, it was as good as, and in some respects superior to, the perspective-taking intervention. These findings provide a naturalistic examination of the potential of group malleability interventions to increase openness to conflict resolution.

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