Current Research Projects
Are liberals from Mars and conservatives from Venus?
In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the role of political ideology in shaping citizens’ attitudes and policy preferences, I conduct extensive research about the nature and structure of liberal versus conservative worldviews. My studies demonstrate how the use of systematic “stimulus sampling” methods can inform political-psychological research on the differences between “conservatives” and “liberals” by promoting a more nuanced, context-dependent understanding of ideological differences in values, emotions, attitudes and policy support.
The adaptive psychological functions of “conflict-supporting” ideologies
This line of research explores the psychological factors and processes (e.g., group-based emotions, threat perceptions, out-group stereotypes, meta-emotions and meta-stereotypes, intra-group dynamics) that drive members of societies in conflict to support hawkish positions and policies, which perpetuate the conflict, rather than striving for peace and conflict resolution. I am particularly interested in how and why exclusionist and hawkish ideologies become particularly effective in addressing the needs and concerns of citizens in conflict, compared to more inclusive and dovish ideologies. Relatedly, I am interested in exploring the psychological “costs” of “abandoning” conflict for society members involved.
Direct and Indirect violence in confict
This line of research explores the psychological processes underlying citizens' support for different forms of intergroup violence and violent activism, and their consequences for intergroup conflict. Alongside my intrerest in support for political violence which is inflicted through action (e.g., support for military actions and civilian casualties, social exclusion and discrimination), I am particularly interested in intergroup harm which is inflicted through inaction ("passive" aggression, neglect, disregard).
The role of social identity mechanisms in shaping intergroup conflict
In this line of research, I focus on the role of group-based dynamics (e.g., perceived group norms, intergroup distinctiveness threats) in shaping political attitudes and preferences, and facilitating or mitigating conflict on the inter- and intra-national levels. In addition, I explore the overlapping nature of group identifications across intergroup domains (e.g., religious, national, ideological and ethnic), and how this overlap facilitates, or camouflages, internal conflicts.
The "gender mainstreaming model" of far-right politics
This ongoing project (with Sivan Hirsch Hoefler and Lihi Ben Shitrit), which received the support of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (2020-2021) and of the Israeli Science Foundation (grant no. 2623/21; 2021-2025), examines how women’s visibility in far-right movements and parties increases public support for far-right agendas, and explores the role of gender stereotypes in underlying these processes.
Political extremism in Israel
This ongoing research (with Sivan Hirsch Hoefler and Lihi Ben-Shitrit), which received the support of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (2021) is seeking to augment our understanding the similarities and differences in the psychosocial processes that underlie political exclusionism and support for violence between different societal sub-groups in Israel.
Religious fundamentalism in the Abrahamic Faiths
Building on a cross-national study of religious fundamentalism in Muslim-majority countries, this NSF funded project (with Prof. Mansoor Moaddel) evaluates the similarities and differences in fundamentalism, its antecedents and consequences, between Israeli Jews and Muslims and Christians and Muslims in other Middle Eastern countries. Given that the conflict between religious fundamentalism and liberal democracy has been the key dimension of political conflict and ideological warfare in the region in recent decades, understanding the nature of the social forces that enhances liberal values and weakens fundamentalism will certainly contribute to a better knowledge of how to engineer peace and
avoid conflict in the region.