Title

How Do Civilians Assign Blame and Praise amidst Civil Conflict?

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression

Volume

12

Issue

4

Publisher

Taylor & Francis Inc.

Publication Date

11-24-2019

First Page

243

Last Page

267

Abstract

Understanding the process by which civilians ascribe blame, praise, and intentionality to governments in conflict is key to formulating a successful counterinsurgency strategy. We conducted survey experiments with Palestinian civilians to examine perceived intentionality of Israeli forces for the outcomes of riot control methods with various consequences. We extend a psychological theory, the side-effect effect, to examine how individuals evaluate actors within conflict. Consistent with expectations, civilians assign more responsibility to state actors with regards to negative (versus positive) outcomes of an action. Additionally, we find a moderator: individuals exposed to violence assign even more responsibility for negative outcomes.

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