Article

The Language of Conflict Transformation: Assessing Psychological Change Patterns in Israeli-Palestinian Track Two Interactive Problem Solving

Authors
  • Oliver Fink (Herbert C. Kelman Institute (HKI))
  • Wilfried Graf
  • Shashanka Subrahmanya
  • Aadesh Salecha
  • Johannes C. Eichstaedt

Abstract

Intergroup conflict and hostility remain pertinent problems, often involving mass violence and fundamental harm to the well-being of involved individuals and societies. Previous studies suggest that unofficial Track Two dialogues are valuable for changing intergroup disputes and achieving sustainable conflict transformation. However, the exact mechanisms that define how it impacts participants remain unclear. To better understand how psychological processes influence dialogue outcomes, we analyzed conflict discourse, specifically examining linguistic patterns as the basis for outcome assessments of Interactive Problem-Solving in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict combining open- and closed natural language processing (LIWC, topic modeling) with qualitative thematic analysis.

Results indicate substantial cognitive-affective shifts of participant interactions during the dialogue process. Psychological changes in response to the interaction include expressing more positive emotions, and substantial cognitive and social engagement, combined with decreasing psychological distance from outgroup members. Overall, we suggest that Interactive Problem Solving facilitates linguistic and psychological attitude changes away from destructive conflict-supporting beliefs. Theoretical and applied implications for intergroup dialogue- and mediation processes are discussed.

Keywords: Track Two diplomacy, Interactive Problem-Solving, mediation, conflict transformation, Israel-Palestine conflict, LIWC

How to Cite:

Fink, O. & Graf, W. & Subrahmanya, S. & Salecha, A. & Eichstaedt, J. C., (2024) “The Language of Conflict Transformation: Assessing Psychological Change Patterns in Israeli-Palestinian Track Two Interactive Problem Solving”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 17(2), 130-152. doi: https://doi.org/10.34891/svxv-s665

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Funding

  • Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (grant Postdoc Mobility Fellowship)
  • Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Stanford University

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Published on
15 May 2024
Peer Reviewed