Interventions Highlighting Hypocrisy Reduce Collective Blame of Muslims for Individual Acts of Violence and Assuage anti-Muslim Hostility, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
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 shortcircuited? 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.
Emile Bruneau, Nour Kteily, Emily Falk
Bruneau, Emile, Nour Kteily, and Emily Falk. 2018. Interventions Highlighting Hypocrisy Reduce Collective Blame of Muslims for Individual Acts of Violence and Assuage anti-Muslim Hostility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 44(3): 430-448.