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.