Why we fight

Emile Bruneau: Wafa Idriss was a child living in Palestine during the First Intifada. When she grew up, she dedicated her time to helping others: She provided social support for prisoners’ families and delivered food during curfews. She trained as a medic and began volunteering with the Red Crescent Society. Then in 2002, during the Second Intifada, Wafa Idriss detonated a bomb in central Jerusalem that killed herself and an Israeli man and wounded 100 others. She was the first Palestinian female suicide bomber.

Although there are certainly many factors that can motivate people to engage in political violence, my experiences living, working and traveling in conflict regions for over a decade have, led me to focus on two: empathy (but perhaps not how you would think) and dehumanization. 

Full article here.

Collectively blaming groups for the actions of individuals can license vicarious retribution. Acts of terrorism by Muslim
extremists against innocents, and the spikes in anti-Muslim hate crimes against innocent Muslims that follow, suggest that
reciprocal bouts of collective blame can spark cycles of violence. How can this cycle be short-circuited? After establishing a
link between collective blame of Muslims and anti-Muslim attitudes and behavior, we used an “interventions tournament” to
identify a successful intervention (among many that failed). The “winning” intervention reduced collective blame of Muslims
by highlighting hypocrisy in the ways individuals collectively blame Muslims—but not other groups (White Americans,
Christians)—for individual group members’ actions. After replicating the effect in an independent sample, we demonstrate
that a novel interactive activity that isolates the psychological mechanism amplifies the effectiveness of the collective blame
hypocrisy intervention and results in downstream reductions in anti-Muslim attitudes and anti-Muslim behavior.