Understanding intergroup conflict: How do children in a divided society perceive group differences?

Lipaz Shamoa Nir, Irene Razpurker Apfeld, Jocelyn Dautel, Laura Taylor

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Outgroup perceptions are a fundamental element of social categorization, particularly in contexts of intergroup conflict. Social Identity Development Theory argues that perceived differences between groups is the first step in ethnic identity development. This understanding of social categories among children may have implications for negative intergroup attitudes or even prejudice. Our study explores how Jews (N=180) and Arab-Muslims (N=207) in middle childhood perceive the difference between these two ethno-religious groups in Israel. Thematic analysis found two themes: (a) differences in everyday ethnic and cultural properties, and (b) differences related to religion. Understanding children’s perspectives offers rich evidence about categorization processes in a divided society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-313
Number of pages4
JournalPeace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date07 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • intergroup conflict
  • categorization
  • majority-minority
  • Jewish-Arab relations


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