Collective Trauma From the Lab to the Real World: The Effects of the Holocaust on Contemporary Israeli Political Cognitions

Daphna Canetti, Gilad Hirschberger, Carmit Rapaport, Julia Elad-Strenger, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Shifra Rosenzveig, Tom Pyszczynski, Stevan E. Hobfoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research tested whether chronic or contextually activated Holocaust exposure is associated with more extreme political attitudes among Israeli Jews. Study 1 (N = 57), and Study 2 (N = 61) found that Holocaust primes increased support for aggressive policies against a current adversary and decreased support for political compromise via an amplified sense of identification with Zionist ideology. These effects, however, were obtained only under an exclusive but not an inclusive framing of the Holocaust. Study 3 (N = 152) replicated these findings in a field study conducted around Holocaust Remembrance Day and showed that the link between Holocaust exposure, ideological identification, and militancy also occurs in real-life settings. Study 4 (N = 867) demonstrated in a nationally representative survey that Holocaust survivors and their descendants exhibited amplified existential threat responses to contemporary political violence, which were associated with militancy and opposition to peaceful compromises. Together, these studies illustrate the Holocaustization of Israeli political cognitions 70 years later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Daphna Canetti and Gilad Hirschberger share first authorship on this article. This research was made possible, in part, by grants awarded to SEH and DC from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH073687), to GH and DC, from the Israel Science Foundation (487/08), and to GH, DC, & TP from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (2009460). Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gilad Hirschberger, Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdiscplinary Center Herzliya or Daphna Canetti, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, 199 Abba Hushi Blvd., Mount Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel. E-mail: ghirschberger@idc.ac.il and dcanetti@poli.haifa.ac.il

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 International Society of Political Psychology

Keywords

  • collective trauma
  • existential threat
  • exposure to political violence
  • intergroup relations
  • political conflict
  • political radicalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations

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