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Social Psychology

Chapter 13: Conflict & Peacemaking

Conflict: A perceived incompatibility of actions
or goals.
Peace: A condition marked by low levels of
hostility and aggression and by mutually
beneficial relationships.
What creates conflict?
How can peace be achieved?
What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
Social Trap: A situation in which the conflicting
parties, by each rationally pursuing its own self-
interest, become caught in mutually destructive
Prisoners Dilemma
Tragedy of the Commons
Non-Zero-Sum Games: Games in which the
outcomes need not sum to zero. With
cooperation, both can win; with competition,
both can lose.
What Creates Conflicts?
A Taxonomy of Traps
Traps (sins of commission) occur when we take
potentially harmful courses of action.
Countertraps (sins of omission) arise when we
avoid potentially beneficial behavior.
Five types of traps which all have
corresponding countertraps:
Time delay traps
Ignorance traps
Investment traps
Deterioration traps
Collective traps
What Creates Conflicts?
Time Delay Traps
Momentary gratification clashes with long term

Trap: We choose something pleasant at the
moment even though it is bad in the long run.

Countertrap: We avoid things that are
unpleasant at the moment even though they are
better in the long run.
What Creates Conflicts?
Ignorance Traps
The negative consequences of a behavior are
not understood.

Trap: We choose to do something pleasant at
the moment w/o knowing it is bad for us in the
long run.

Countertrap: We avoid doing things which are
unpleasant at the moment because we do not
realize they are good for us in the long run.
What Creates Conflicts?
Investment Traps
Occur when prior expenditures of time, money,
or other resources lead people to make choices
they would not otherwise make.

Trap: We choose to continue pursue something
we know is wrong because we already
invested in it.
Countertrap: We avoid starting a new thing we
realize is better because we have invested so
much in something else.
What Creates Conflicts?
Deterioration Traps
Occur when initially rewarding courses of action
gradually become less reinforcing or more

Trap: We continue to do something which was
good, but is now no longer good.

Countertrap: We fail to begin doing something
which is now good, because it used to be bad.
What Creates Conflicts?
Collective Traps
The pursuit of individual self interest results in
adverse consequences for the collective.

Trap: We perform actions beneficial to our own
interests even though they have negative
consequences for the collective.

Countertrap: We fail to do things which are
difficult for us even though the consequences to
the collective are negative.
What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
The Prisoners Dilemma
Everyone wins if everyone
Because neither trusts the
other, the most common
outcome is both confessing.
Set up by lawyers to get a
double confession.
What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
The Prisoners Dilemma
What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
How Much Would You Pay for a Dollar?
Players auction for a dollar.
No communication allowed between bidders.
Bids are made in multiples of 5c
The two highest bidders must both pay what
they bid, even though the dollar only goes to
the highest bidder.

What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
The Tragedy of the Commons
Tragedy of the Commons: The commons is any
shared resource, including air, water, energy sources,
and food supplies. The tragedy occurs when
individuals consume more than their share, with the
cost of their doing so dispersed among all, causing the
ultimate collapsethe tragedyof the commons.
An individual does whatever is in their own best
interest event though it makes the collective suffer.
What Creates Conflicts?
Social Dilemmas
Resolving Social Dilemmas
Small is beautiful
Changing the payoffs

For that which is common to the greatest number has the least
care bestowed upon it.
What Creates Conflicts?
Competition kindles conflict.
Two groups of boys created who called
themselves the Eagles and the Rattlers
Set up to like each other.
Competition introduced
Conflict resulted
What Creates Conflicts?
Perceived Injustice
inputs Your
outcomes Your
inputs My
outcomes My

Equity is achieved if I perceive that:

However, very competent or worthy people
value their inputs more, thus making a balance
almost impossible.
What Creates Conflicts?
White reviewed ten
wars from the last
century and found at
least one of the
following every time
underestimating the
enemys strength
overestimating the
leaders power
rationalizing ones own
Conflict is a perceived
incompatibility of actions or
What Creates Conflicts?
Mirror-Image Perceptions
Mirror-Image Perceptions: Reciprocal views of
each other often held by parties in conflict; for
example, each may view itself as moral and
peace-loving and the other as evil and
How Can Peace be Achieved?
Four Cs of peacemaking
Contactwell never know them if we dont
talk to them.
How Can Peace be Achieved?
Does Desegregation Improve Racial Attitudes?
Equal-Status Contact:
Contact on an equal
basis. Just as a
relationship between
people of unequal status
breeds attitudes
consistent with their
relationship, so do
relationships between
those of equal status.
Thus, to reduce prejudice,
interracial contact should
be between people of
equal status.
How Can Peace be Achieved?
Common external threats build cohesiveness.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Superordinate Goal: A shared goal that necessitates
cooperative effort; a goal that overrides peoples
differences from one another.
Group identities lead to peace.
How Can Peace be Achieved?
In laboratory dilemma games, cooperation is
much more likely if the players can talk with
each other.
Allows for the buildup of trust which is
In laboratory dilemma games (as in real conflicts)
there is a real penalty if you cooperate and the
other party defects!
How Can Peace be Achieved?
Bargaining: Seeking an agreement to a conflict
through direct negotiation between parties.
Mediation: An attempt by a neutral third party to
resolve a conflict by facilitating communication
and offering suggestions.

How Can Peace be Achieved?
Arbitration: Resolution of a conflict by a neutral third
party who studies both sides and imposes a
The Peoples Court with Judge Joe Wapner!!!
Integrative Agreements: Win-win agreements that
reconcile both parties interests to their mutual benefit.
Two sisters quarreled over an orange, they finally agreed to
each take half.
One sister took her half and squeezed it to make juice,
throwing out the peel.
The other sister took her half and peeled it, using the peel to
make a cake.
How Can Peace be Achieved?
GRIT (Graduated Reciprocated Initiatives in
Tension Reduction): A strategy designed to
deescalate international tensions.
Conciliatory, yet strong enough to discourage
One side announces recognition of mutual
interests and initiates a small conciliatory act.
This opens the door for reciprocation by other