Prof. Eran Halperin

Political and social psychologist, Dean of the School of Psychology at the IDC.

Content and Training Methods:
The aim of Dr. Halperin’s research is to examine ways of changing national feelings by educational, communicational, and other types of interventions.

 

He examines why people support conflicts and go to war, and he tries to provide answers to questions pertaining to social psychology. In his doctorate, Dr. Halperin studied the influence and role of hatred in political processes, while trying to offer innovative ways of reducing that hatred. In his post-doctoral work at Stanford University, he developed a theory of emotions as psychological barriers in conflict resolution. The theory assists in explaining the unique role of each emotion in influencing the manner in which people behave in the context of a political conflict. When Halperin returned from his post-doctoral work, he began composing the theory of Emotion Regulation and did further research in the field of conflict resolution. His research showed that when one tries to understand the political decisions of people within a situation of harsh conflicts, the emotional component affects decision-making much more than other components such as ideology and cost vs. benefit. More importantly, his research showed that regardless of ideology people who learn how to regulate their feelings with respect to political events tend to respond more peacefully.
In an additional research series published in the prestigious Science Journal, Halperin and his partners at Stanford University asked how peace could be promoted in groups by reducing inter-group hatred. From the results of his doctoral thesis, he concluded that hate emanates from a deep belief that the external group is naturally evil and that it will never change. Therefore, in a long series of studies, the researchers brought the participants to believe that groups can change and thus dramatically lowered the hate levels between the groups, established more positive opinions, and increased the tendency to compromise. Halperin has conducted research on this topic in seven groups worldwide: Jews in Israel, Arabs in Palestine and Gaza, Arabs in Israel, and groups in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the USA and the Netherlands.

 

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