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Abstract

Conflict narratives, particularly victimhood or 'blame game' conflict narratives, have recently become of rising interest to those working in the fields of political psychology and social psychology. However, the importance of cognitive biases has been largely left out of the current literature on this topic. I use the speeches of leaders on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a case study to explore the recurring aspects of blame game narratives and demonstrate the importance of cognitive biases in the creation and perpetuation of these narratives. Speeches from various Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the first and second intifadas, as well as the 2014 Gaza War, include a high percentage of overlap between blame game narratives and cognitive biases, specifically the framing effect and confirmation bias. Furthermore, an analysis of these speeches provides evidence that blame game narratives are the most common type of rhetoric present in the speeches of Israeli and Palestinian leaders during points of heightened conflict.

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