Intergroup commonality, political ideology, and tolerance of enemy collateral casualties in intergroup conflicts

Noa Schori-Eyal, Eran Halperin, Tamar Saguy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their pernicious effect on intergroup conflict, collateral casualties are seen as inevitable and justified by many members of the groups involved, particularly those who endorse a right-wing ideology. Drawing on social psychological literature, we examined whether a perception of commonality between in-group and out-group can be beneficial for reducing tolerance to collateral causalities. We hypothesized that viewing the out-group as sharing commonalities with the in-group can reduce processes of out-group delegitimization, which are common among right-wingers in intractable conflicts, and may therefore serve to explain reduction in tolerance to collateral casualties. Three correlational studies were conducted among Jewish-Israelis in the context of the conflict with the Palestinians to test this. In Study 1, right-wing political ideology was associated with stronger support for enemy collateral casualties, and the effect was moderated by perceived intergroup commonality. While leftists were overall non-supportive of collateral casualties, rightists who perceived high intergroup commonality were less tolerant of collateral casualties than those low on intergroup commonality. In Study 2, conducted during violent escalation, we replicated these results while controlling for anger, fear, and hatred. In Study 3, we found that the effect was mediated by delegitimization of the out-group. These results extend the range of beneficial impact of intergroup commonality, and imply that it may be used as a tool to promote conflict resolution.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)425-439
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • aggression
  • commonality
  • ideology
  • intergroup conflict

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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