Need for closure and competition in intergroup conflicts: experimental evidence for the mitigating effect of accessible conflict-schemas

Authors

  • Agnieszka Golec de Zavala,

    Corresponding author
    1. Middlesex University, UK
    2. Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland
    • School of Health and Social Sciences, Middlesex University, Queensway, Enfield, Middlesex EN3 4SA, UK.
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    • Senior Lecturer at School of Health and Social Sciences at Middlesex University and Assistant Professor at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology (SWPS).

  • Christopher M. Federico,

    1. University of Minnesota, USA
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    • Assistant Professor of Psychology and Political Science at the University of Minnesota.

  • Aleksandra Cisłak,

    1. Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
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    • Doctoral student at the Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences.

  • Jonathan Sigger

    1. Middlesex University, UK
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    • Senior Lecturer at School of Health and Social Sciences at Middlesex University.


Abstract

Three experimental studies demonstrate that momentarily accessible conflict-schemas moderate the relationship between need for closure and conflict-strategy preferences, with the relationship between a high need for closure and increased competitiveness reduced to non-significance when a cooperative conflict-schema is made salient but strengthened when a hostile one is activated. Study 1 manipulated the accessibility of competitive versus cooperative conflict-schemas using different descriptions of a contemporary political conflict, while Studies 2 and 3 manipulated conflict-schema accessibility using primes embedded in an ostensibly unrelated lexical decision task. Together, the present studies provide a strong pattern of experimental support for the moderating effect of conflict-schema accessibility suggested by earlier correlational studies. The implications for conflict reduction are discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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