Action diversity in a simulation of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
This article explores the strategies used by Israeli students to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the interactive computer game, PeaceMaker. Students played PeaceMaker in the roles of both the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian President in random order. Students must take actions satisfying constituents on both sides of the conflict in order to win the game. The diversity of actions taken in each role was measured. Several hypotheses test the degree to which Israeli students, depending on which role they played and their own demographic variables, exploited a consistent set of actions or explored a more diverse range of actions across three main types: construction, political, and security. The results show that (1) greater action diversity increases success in both roles, (2) Israeli students engaged in less diverse actions when playing the Israeli role than when playing the Palestinian role, (3) students’ religiosity and political Hawkishness negatively predicted action diversity when playing the Palestinian role, and (4) action diversity mediates the relationship between a student’s background knowledge about the conflict and success in the Israeli role. The significance of these findings for understanding attitudes about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict are discussed, including implications for conflict resolution more generally.