The effect of perspective taking on the mediation process
Received 26 March 2018
Accepted for publication 11 May 2018
Published 27 September 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 411—416
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman
Stefano Boca, Maria Garro, Isabella Giammusso, Costanza Scaffidi Abbate
Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Background: Previous research demonstrated several benefits of strategic perspective taking in the field of intergroup relations and, more specifically, in the negotiation processes aimed at conflict resolution. The present study, which analyzes the effect of perspective taking and mediation in a conflict setting, corroborates the psychological models that hypothesize the positive effects of the assumption of the competitor’s perspective on having intergroup conflict and lessening of negative consequences.
Materials and methods: After being involved in an epistolary debate on a topic for which their ingroup had very contrasting views compared to an outgroup, participants were asked to use a feeling thermometer to assess their level of intergroup hostility. Mediation was then used as a conflict-resolution strategy for half of the participants. Furthermore, the assumption of perspective was manipulated, resulting in a 2 (conflict: presence vs absence) × 2 (perspective taking: presence vs absence) × 2 (mediation: presence vs absence) between-subjects design. Finally, participants were asked to use the same feeling thermometer to evaluate whether feelings of hostility diminished.
Results: The results show that in conflict situations, the level of hostility decreases the most when the mediation process is accompanied by perspective taking.
Conclusion: The results extend recent results about the advantages of a significant social ability – perspective taking – for improving intergroup relations.
Keywords: perspective taking, mediation, conflict resolution, intergroup conflict, racial bias
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