Gaming for peace: Virtual contact through cooperative video gaming increases children's intergroup tolerance in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Joy Benatov*, Rony Berger, Carmit T. Tadmor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of virtual cooperative video games have not yet been explored within the setting of hostile intergroup contexts; nor have they been tested among school-aged children. We present results from a longitudinal school-based intervention that enabled virtual contact between Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children. The program included six virtual and two face-to-face sessions. We find that relative to an intragroup contact control group, children who participated in the intergroup program showed reduced intergroup bias on both cognitive and emotional indicators, including reduced stereotypical views, negative emotions and discriminatory tendencies toward members of the other ethnic group, as well as increased willingness to engage in social contact with outgroup members. These effects were long lasting and preserved six months after termination of the program. The intervention's effectiveness was consistent across measures, gender, and ethnic groups. Thus, the program we developed offers a feasible, relatively cost-effective gaming intervention that can be applied even in areas characterized by severe ethnic tension and hostile conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104065
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume92
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Funding

FundersFunder number
Henry Crown Institute of Business Research
Henry Crown Institute of Business Research in Israel
Israel Science Foundation363/19

    Keywords

    • Computer-mediated contact
    • Intergroup tolerance
    • Prejudice reduction
    • School-based intervention
    • Video games

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