Publications by topic

Four Processes that Drive Intergroup Conflict and Discrimination:

Collective Blame

The collective praise intervention: A brief intervention highlighting prosocial behavior reduces hostility towards Muslims

Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (2021)

Roman A. Gallardo, Boaz Hameiri, Samantha L. Moore-Berg, Emile Bruneau


Muslims are consistently the target of dehumanization and hostile policies. Previous research shows that interventions that highlight the hypocrisy wherein people collectively blame entire groups for the heinous acts of individual members of outgroups but not ingroups are effective in reducing animosity towards Muslims. However, these interventions rely on aversive materials (e.g., terrorist acts), which can hinder the scalability of interventions due to individuals’ tendency to resist/avoid challenging and aversive stimuli. In three preregistered studies (combined N = 2,635), we developed and tested a nonaversive, hypocrisy-based intervention that highlights the hypocrisy involved in attributing ingroup members’ prosocial acts to the entire ingroup (i.e., Christians) but not doing the same for outgroup members (i.e., Muslims). Results indicated that this collective praise intervention reliably reduces dehumanization of Muslims, anti-Muslim policy support, and collective blame of Muslims. We argue that the intervention’s use of nonaversive stimuli allows for both practical and scalable applications.

A Collective Blame Hypocrisy Intervention Enduringly Reduces Hostility Towards Muslims

Nature Human Behavior, 2019

Emile G. Bruneau, Nour S. Kteily & Ana Urbiola


Hostility towards outgroups contributes to costly intergroup conflict. Here we test an intervention to reduce hostility towards Muslims, a frequently targeted outgroup. Our ‘collective blame hypocrisy’ intervention highlights the hypocrisy involved in the tendency for people to collectively blame outgroup but not ingroup members for blameworthy actions of individual group members. Using both within-subject and between-subject comparisons in a preregistered longitudinal study in Spain, we find that our intervention reduces collective blame of Muslims and downstream anti-Muslim sentiments relative to a matched control condition and that the effects of the intervention persist one month and also one year later. We replicate the benefits of the intervention in a second study. The effects are mediated by reductions in collective blame and moderated by individual differences in preference for consistency. Together, these data illustrate that the collective blame hypocrisy intervention enduringly reduces harmful intergroup attitudes associated with conflict escalation, particularly among those who value consistency in themselves and others.

Interventions Highlighting Hypocrisy Reduce Collective Blame of Muslims for Individual Acts of Violence and Assuage Anti-Muslim Hostility

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2018

Emile Bruneau, Nour Kteily, and Emily Falk


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 short-circuited? 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.