PeaceMaker: Changing Students’ Attitudes Toward Palestinians and Israelis Through Video Game Play

Saleem Elias Alhabash, Kevin Wise


An experiment investigated the effects of video game role-play on change of students’ explicit and implicit attitudes toward Palestinians and Israelis. Sixty-eight participants played PeaceMaker, a video game in which people play the role of the Palestinian president or the Israeli prime minister and respond to various scenarios through diplomatic, economic, and military decision-making. Results showed that participants, before playing PeaceMaker, expressed higher favorability toward Israelis than Palestinians. Participants who played the role of Palestinian president reported positive changes in explicit attitudes toward Palestinians and negative changes toward Israelis, while those who played the role of Israeli prime minister reported no meaningful attitude changes toward either national group after playing the game. Implicit attitudes were more positive toward Palestinians at the baseline, yet did not change significantly as a function of the treatment for both national groups. Results are discussed in relation to self-persuasion, persuasive games, and attitude change.

Full Text: