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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Bernhard Leidner

Second Advisor

Linda Tropp

Third Advisor

Allecia Reid

Fourth Advisor

Tara Mandalaywala

Fifth Advisor

Jamie Rowen

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


“Hegemonic” conflict narratives help reinforce intergroup conflict through focus on ingroup victimhood, denying outgroup narratives, and advancing beliefs that the conflict is “zero-sum” in nature. Many researchers have used narrative-based interventions to shift exclusive focus on ingroup victimhood and denial of outgroup narratives, but relatively little attention has been paid to the role of zero-sum beliefs. Here, I argue that narrative primes recalling past peace processes can potentially be used to shift zero-sum beliefs, thereby shifting conflict-relevant outcome variables indirectly. In two survey studies of American participants (Studies 1 & 2), I found evidence that participants who read about the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea compared to a control article or a baseline condition demonstrated reduced zero-sum beliefs, and that this reduction indirectly increased conflict-attenuating attitudes while decreasing conflict-promoting attitudes. In Studies 3 and 4, I examined whether how past reminders of peace processes are framed affects zero-sum beliefs in a context where denying peace processes had ever occurred was impossible (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) using representative samples of Jewish Israelis. Taken together, these studies suggested that a positive (or at least non-negative) framing of past peace processes could reduce zero-sum beliefs among Jewish Israelis, leading indirectly to conflict-attenuating responses to downstream variables. As a whole, these four studies suggest that zero-sum beliefs are malleable in response to narratives, and that this malleability can have positive (or negative) implications for conflict resolution depending on how the narrative reminder is framed.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023