Technology enforced interaction to support conflict negotiation

Funding Agencies:

  • Italian-Israeli Project: “Intelligent Technologies for Cultural Visits and Mobile Education (ITCH): Table for Joint Narration - 2004-present.
  • Israel Science Foundation (ISF) - 2009-2012

Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss (P.I.)
Zvi Eisikovits (P.I.)
Chaya Koren, Qualitative Research Director

In Collaboration with: Oliviero Stock, Istituto per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica, Trento, Italy

Scientific Abstract:
This study proposes the use of a novel, computerized tangible interface, the Narrative Negotiation and Reconciliation (NNR)-Table, designed to support the creation of joint narratives as a means of actualizing the conflict escalation and de-escalation process between Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-Arab male youth. This process is directed at enhancing mutual understanding by each side of the other's perception of the conflict. We expect this to facilitate a process of attitude change in Jewish and Arab youth towards each other and towards the conflict. Our first objective is technological, that is to determine the effectiveness of the novel NNR-Table as a means of enhancing cooperation towards resolving conflict between Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian-Arab male youth relative to a "minimal technology" conflict resolution method. Our second objective is theoretical, that is to develop a grounded theoretical model based on qualitative analysis, of bridging conflictual behaviors, including elements of escalation/de-escalation, and shifts in attitudes towards the conflict and the other, defined as the subject of conflictual relationships.

The sample will consist of 25 pairs (Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli male youth, aged 16-18) for the study group and 25 matched pairs according to the same criteria for the comparison group (N = 100). They will be purposefully sampled by a combination of criterion and theory-basedsampling. A qualitative analysis methodology will enable the researchers, through semi-structured interviews and structured observation, to describe and analyze both the structure and the content of these encounters and to evaluate the process as it takes place along with the perceived outcomes.

The basic element of the NNR-Table is the multimedia UMMUS (Unit of MultiMedia User Story) which each participant individually creates to narrate segments of a story that describes some aspect of the regional conflict. A key feature is the POD (Point of Disagreement) which the participants can use to indicate disagreement with their partner's narration and to suggest an alternative accounting. The uniqueness of our approach is in combining face-to-face interaction between participants while using computer technology to assist and reinforce the process. NNR-Table functions were designed to implement the important factors in the process based on conflict escalation and de-escalation theory.

The thrust of this study is not to presume to resolve the conflict given the broader social and political context, and the inevitability of contact between the two sides; such a goal would be too optimistic. Rather, the aim is to take advantage of the technology-driven assets, namely a process oriented, tangible simulation that respects the participants' individuality while encouraging and promoting interaction and collaboration. By engaging in the simulated conflict escalation and de-escalation process, the participants have an opportunity to experience alternatives in a supportive environment.


Zancanaro, M., Stock, O., Eisikovits, Z., Koren, C. & Weiss, P.L. (2012). "Co-narrating a conflict: An interactive tabletop to facilitate attitudinal shifts". ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 19, No. 3, Article 24.

Stock, O., Zancanaro, M.,  Rocchi, C., Tomasini, D., Koren, C., Eisikovits, Z., Goren-Bar, D., & Weiss, P.L. (2009). "The design of a collaborative interface for narrationsupport reconciliation in a conflict". Artificial Intelligence & Society, 24, 51-59.


Stock, O.Zancanaro, M.Rocchi, C.Tomasini, D.Koren, C., Eisikovits, Z.Goren-Bar, D.Weiss, P.L. (2008). "A co-located interface for narration to support reconciliation in a conflict: Initial results from Jewish and palestinian youth". Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings