Selected publications below. Visit my Google Scholar page for a full list of articles, chapters and other scientific publications.


  • Shandler, R., Gross, M. L., & Canetti, D. (2021). Cyber Terrorism and Public Support for Retaliation – A Multi-Country Survey Experiment”. British Journal of Political Science.
    Article | Abstract

    Does exposure to cyber terrorism prompt calls for retaliatory military strikes? By what psychological mechanism does it do so? Through a series of controlled, randomized experiments, we exposed respondents (n = 2,028) to television news reports depicting cyber and conventional terror attacks against critical infrastructures in the United States, United Kingdom and Israel. Findings indicate that only lethal cyber terrorism triggers strong support for retaliation. Findings also confirm that anger bridges exposure to cyber terrorism and retaliation, rather than psychological mechanisms such as threat perception or anxiety as other studies propose. These findings extend to the cyber realm a recent trend that views anger as a primary mechanism linking exposure to terrorism with militant preferences. With cyber terrorism a mounting international concern, this study demonstrates how exposure to cyber terrorism can generate strong public support for retaliatory policies – depending on the lethality of the terror attack.

  • Shandler, R., Gross, M. L., & Canetti, D. (2021). A fragile public preference for cyber strikes: Evidence from survey experiments in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. Contemporary Security Policy, 1-28.‏
    Article | Abstract

    To what extent does the public support the use of cyber weapons? We propose that public exposure to the destructive potential of cyber-attacks will dispel the clear cross-national preference for cyber strikes. To test this, we conducted two survey experiments (n= 2,585) that examine support for cyber versus conventional military strikes in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel.In study 1, we exposed respondents to television news reports depicting various forms of terror attacks, and then measured the subsequent support for retaliatory options. Findings indicate that the high public support for deploying cyber weapons dissipated entirely among respondents exposed to lethal cyber-attacks. In study 2, we probed this vanishing support,finding that exposure to destructive cyber-attacks undercuts the perception of cyber as a less lethal domain, therefore diminishing its appeal. We conclude by discussing how the fragile public preference for cyber weapons encourages military escalation in the short-term.


  • Canetti, D., Gubler, J., & Zeitzoff, T. (2020). Motives Don’t Matter? Motive Attribution and Counterterrorism Policy. Political Psychology.
    Article | Abstract

    Across three studies, two experiments, and two different countries (Israel and the United States), we examine how perceptions among members of the public regarding the motives of terrorists’ influence support for counter terrorist policy. We find that while perceptions that terrorists are motivated by “hatred” (rather than by a “lack of opportunity”—economic or otherwise) strongly correlate with support for harsher counter-tactics, and that these perceptions can be changed by providing information from “experts” on the “true” motivations of the outgroup, these changes in perception do not appear to cause change in support for counter terrorism policy. Our findings suggest that among the public, counter terror policy is not as instrumentally driven as much current research assumes.

  • Shandler, R., Gross, M. L., & Canetti, D. (2020). Can you engage in political activity without Internet access? The social effects of Internet deprivation. Political Studies Review, 18(4), 620-629.‏
    Article | Abstract

    To what extent can you engage in political activity in the modern age without Internet access? The growing dependence on Internet access to fulfill basic civil functions is threatened by increasing personal and societal cyber vulnerability. In this article, we explore the extent to which citizens are able, or unable, to engage in specific political activities in the absence of Internet connectivity. To concretize the subject, we test how Internet deprivation affects the ability to realize three basic elements of political participation: political expression, civic association, and access to information. To measure this, we develop a new experimental methodology that tests people’s ability to complete tasks related to each function under simulated treatments of Internet access or deprivation. This empirical methodology offers a new framework through which to quantify the realization of social tasks under experimental conditions. Early results suggest that the absence of Internet access significantly reduces task completion for activities related to political expression and political association and conditionally reduces task completion for practices associated with freedom of information. Having substantiated this empirical framework, we encourage its application to additional forms of political activity.

  • Backhaus, S., Gross, M. L., Waismel-Manor, I., Cohen, H., & Canetti, D. (2020). A cyberterrorism effect? Emotional reactions to lethal attacks on critical infrastructure. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 23(9), 595-603.‏
    Article | Abstract

    To what extent does exposure to cyberterrorism arouse negative emotions? Cyberterrorism has developed the potential to cause similarly lethal consequences to conventional terrorism, especially when targeted at critical infrastructures. But like conventional terrorism, cyberterrorism aims to terrorize, and exposure to cyberterror attacks can affect emotional responses. This article is based on an experiment that explores emotional responses to cyberterrorism using specially designed news reports showing major cyber attacks against critical water infrastructure. Our findings indicate that cyberterrorism arouses heightened reactions of anger and stress (measured physiologically through cortisol levels, and through self-report measures). Our findings also reveal that (a) exposure to cyberterror attacks is associated with higher levels of stress than of anger; (b) that these emotional responses do not differ from the emotions triggered by conventional terrorism; and (c) these responses are not dependent on the lethality of the attack. Finally, cortisol levels remained constant across conditions. This study covers new ground as it explores the distinctive role of anger after cyberterrorism, while affirming studies that describe the presence of stress.

  • Zancanaro, M., Stock, O., Schiavo, G., Cappelletti, A., Gehrmann, S., Canetti, D., … & Weiss, P. L. (2020). Evaluating an automated mediator for joint narratives in a conflict situation. Behaviour & Information Technology, 39(9), 1022-1037.‏
    Article | Abstract

    Joint narratives are often used in the context of reconciliation interventions for people in social conflict situations, which arise, for example, due to ethnic or religious differences. The interventions aim to encourage a change in attitudes of the participants towards each other. Typically, a human mediator is fundamental for achieving a successful intervention. In this work, we present an automated approach to support remote interactions between pairs of participants as they contribute to a shared story in their own language. A key component is an automated cognitive tutor that guides the participants through a controlled escalation/de-escalation process during the development of a joint narrative. We performed a controlled study comparing a trained human mediator to the automated mediator. The results demonstrate that an automated mediator, although simple at this stage, effectively supports interactions and helps to achieve positive outcomes comparable to those attained by the trained human mediator.

  • Elad-Strenger, J., Hall, B. J., Hobfoll, S. E., & Canetti, D. (2020). Explaining public support for violence against politicians during conflict: Evidence from a panel study in Israel. Journal of Peace Research.‏
    Article | Abstract

    What drives citizens’ support for violence against domestic political actors? Despite its potentially devastating consequences, there is surprisingly little research on the antecedents of this unique form of political violence. Building upon recent insights on the psychological implications of exposure to conflict on support for political violence, we examined the motivations underlying public support for violence against politicians in the context of protracted conflict. Using a two-wave panel design among Jewish-Israelis, we examined the interactive effects of conflict-induced perceived threat, psychological distress, and political orientation on support for violence against politicians. Consistent with previous findings on the psychological implications of conflict, our findings suggest that conflict-induced threat perceptions play an important role in predicting support for violence against politicians. Nevertheless, our findings point to important boundary conditions to these effects: the strength of the relationship between perceived threat and attitudes towards political violence is qualified by the level of chronic conflict-related psychological distress, and the direction of the effects of perceived threat is qualified by individuals’ self-placement on the left-right continuum. More specifically, we found that perceived threat increased rightists’ support and decreases leftists’ support for violence against politicians, only under high, but not low, conflict-related psychological distress. The main conclusion of this study is that support for violence against politicians can be seen as an ideology-driven protective strategy against the negative psychological implications of exposure to violent conflict. By pointing to the importance of understanding the interactive role of psychological and political factors in determining public support for such acts, our findings therefore contribute to the understanding of a relatively understudied phenomenon with potentially catastrophic effects on political stability.

  • Bloom, P. B. N., Kimhi, S., Fachter, S., Shamai, M., & Canetti, D. (2020). Coping with moral threat: moral judgment amid war on terror. Journal of conflict resolution, 64(2-3), 231-260.‏
    Article | Abstract

    Moral dilemmas amid war on terrorism include repeated harsh moral choices, which often pose threats to one’s moral image. Given that people strive to view themselves as moral, how do they cope with such morally compromising decisions? We suggest and test two strategies to cope with morally threatening decision-making under in-group moral responsibility amid war on terrorism: (a) trivialization of the moral dilemma and (b) resentment toward the target. Four experimental studies measured (study 1) and manipulated (studies 2–4) these hypothesized mechanisms, presenting a similar collateral damage dilemma to Israeli Jews in the context of the 2014 Gaza conflict (studies 1 and 2) and to Americans in the context of the US campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (studies 3 and 4). Results demonstrate that both trivialization and resentment facilitate harsh moral choices under conditions of moral accountability. Studying the mechanism underlying moral decision-making in conflicts is key to understanding moral injury and the process of moral repair.


  • Canetti, D., Khatib, I., Rubin, A., & Wayne, C. (2019). Framing and fighting: The impact of conflict frames on political attitudes. Journal of Peace Research, 56(6), 737-752.‏
    Article | Abstract

    How does the subjective conceptual framing of conflict impact the warring parties’ attitudes towards political compromise and negotiation? To assess strategies for conflict resolution, researchers frequently try to determine the defining dispute of a given conflict. However, involved parties often view the conflict through fundamentally distinct lenses. Currently, researchers do not possess a clear theoretical or methodological way to conceptualize the complexity of such competing frames and their effects on conflict resolution. This article addresses this gap. Using the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a case study, we run a series of focus groups and three surveys among Jewish citizens of Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCIs), and Palestinians in the West Bank. Results reveal that three conflict frames are prominent – material, nationalist, and religious. However, the parties to the conflict differ in their dominant interpretation of the conflict. Jewish Israelis mostly frame the conflict as nationalist, whereas Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Israel, frame it as religious. Moreover, these frames impact conflict attitudes: a religious frame was associated with significantly less willingness to compromise in potential diplomatic negotiations among both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Interestingly, differing frames had no significant impact on the political attitudes of West Bank Palestinians, suggesting that the daily realities of conflict there may be creating more static, militant attitudes among that population. These results challenge the efficacy of material solutions to the conflict and demonstrate the micro-foundations underpinning civilians’ conflict attitudes and their implications for successful conflict resolution.

  • Vashdi, D. R., Navot, D., Lavi, I., Hobfoll, S. E., & Canetti, D. (2019). Political efficacy as a buffer of the heightened risk of posttraumatic stress in disadvantaged communities. Journal of traumatic stress, 32(4), 555-565.‏
    Article | Abstract

    External collective political efficacy (PE) is an individual’s perception of the extent to which the government is responsive to the needs of his or her group or community or to its collective actions. Does PE play a role in the association between exposure to political violence and posttraumatic stress? The current study aimed to examine whether such PE may help explain why exposure to political violence results in posttraumatic stress for some people but not others. Based on the conservation of resource theory, research has found that residents of some types of communities are less likely to suffer from posttraumatic stress when exposed to political violence, due to the economic and psychological resources these communities provide. Political efficacy, as an individual‐level factor that relates to the community, may help predict who will suffer more or less posttraumatic stress from exposure to political violence within a given community. Based on a panel study conducted immediately before and after the 2008–2009 Gaza conflict (N = 650) and hierarchical linear modeling analyses, we found that type of community indeed moderated the association between exposure to political violence and posttraumatic stress, Δ‐2 log likelihood = 30.4, p < .001. In addition, we found that PE mitigated the psychological distress resulting from exposure to political conflict in disadvantaged communities, Δ‐2 log likelihood = 22.8, p < .001. This study not only further untangled the association between exposure and distress during times of war but also identified the role that governments can play in preventing conflict‐induced distress beyond offering physical protection.

  • Hirsch-Hoefler, S., Vashdi, D. R., Lowe, R. D., Muldoon, O., Hobfoll, S. E., & Canetti, D. (2019). Status symmetry effect: The association of exposure and PTS in Israel-Palestine and Northern Ireland. Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-18.
    Article | Abstract

    A multi-national sample was used to investigate mechanisms thatwere hypothesized to moderate the relationship between exposureto political violence and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). Wehypothesized that a) the phase of the conflict and b) the statusasymmetry of the conflicting parties would moderate the relationshipbetween exposure and PTS symptoms. We used original data fromfour groups: Israelis and Palestinians (n = 2,572), and Protestants andCatholics in Northern Ireland (n = 343). Looking at these two conflicts,we found that the positive relationship between exposure to violenceand posttraumatic stress symptoms ceases to exist in a post-conflictsetting (F(1, 2053) = 4.95, p < .05,η2= 0.002). Interestingly, we foundthat PTS symptoms were highest among minority group members inan ongoing conflict irrespective of exposure to political violence (F(1,2053) = 120.74, p < .001,η2= 0.06). We provide explanations for thesefindings and discuss their psychological implications for victimizedgroups and the wider geopolitics of intergroup conflict.

  • Canetti, D., Cavari, A., Rapaport, C., Shalev, H., & Hobfoll, S. E. (2019). Individual Exposure to Terror and Political Attitudes: A Physiologically-Based Model of Militancy. Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-16.
    Article | Abstract

    How does exposure to terrorism affect political attitudes? This paperpresents a new individual-level psychobiological model of politicalattitudes. Using a unique individual-level data of personal exposureto terrorism, a physiological marker of inflammation (CRP) anda psychological measure of perception of threat to an ongoing con-flict—the Israel-Palestinian Conflict—we assess the effect of personalexposure to terrorism on militant attitudes concerning the conflict.Our data of physiological (blood samples), psychological, and attitu-dinal factors were collected in Israel during a military escalation alongthe Gaza Strip border. Thefindings reveal that among people per-sonally exposed to terrorism, the perception of threat mediates anassociation between physiological conditions and militant attitudes.Thesefindings contribute to the emerging literature on the biopoli-tics of political violence, suggesting a renewed focus on the dynamicinterplay between physiological, psychological, and political factors.

  • Zipris, I., Pliskin, R., Canetti, D., & Halperin, E. (2019). Exposure to the 2014 Gaza war and support for militancy: The role of emotion dysregulation. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 45(6), 965-977.
    Article | Abstract

    How do wars shape emotions and attitudes in intractable conflicts? In two studies conducted in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza War in the Middle East, we tested a new theoretical model wherein the ability to regulate emotions is central in determining the influence of war exposure on emotions (i.e., group-based humiliation) and support for militancy, through posttraumatic stress symptoms (PSS). Results supported our model: (a) higher exposure to the war predicted group-based humiliation in both studies and in Study 2 also greater support for militancy; in both studies, (b) higher exposure predicted more PSS only among participants high in emotion dysregulation, and, for them, (c) higher exposure predicted greater group-based humiliation, through increased levels of PSS. Results from Study 2 suggest that (d) group-based humiliation will ultimately lead to greater support for militancy. The findings’ contribution to the different literatures and their integration is discussed.

  • Shandler, R., & Canetti, D. (2019). A Reality of Vulnerability and Dependence: Internet Access as a Human Right. Israel Law Review, 52(1), 77-98.
    Article | Abstract

    We are faced with a new reality where our reliance on internet access to fulfil basic civil tasks is threatened by increasing personal and societal cyber vulnerability. This dichotomy of dependence and vulnerability requires a new framework for understanding the legal and human rights status of this evolving techno-logical reality. A number of theories have sought to explain how internet access could attain the status of a human right. These include reliance on the freedom of expression protection offered by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.More recent approaches have suggested that international customary law could apply, or that internet access could attain the status of an auxiliary human right. Despite repeated demands by international institutions to address modern cyber challenges through a human rights lens, this assortment of legal approaches has failed to garner a consensus view in the international community. The article reviews the merits of each of these arguments, and grounds the debate in the lens of this reality of dependence and vulnerability. Of the four options surveyed, wef ind that auxiliary righthood is the most promising approach, but that additional research is required to substantiate the claims.


  • Fischer, A., Halperin, E., Canetti, D., & Jasini, A. (2018). Why we hate. Emotion Review, 10(4), 309-320.
    Article | Abstract

    We offer a functional perspective on hate, showing that hate has a unique pattern of appraisals and action tendencies. Hate is based on perceptions of a stable, negative disposition of persons or groups. We hate persons and groups more because of who they are, than because of what they do. Hate has the goal to eliminate its target. Hate is especially significant at the intergroup level, where it turns already devalued groups into victims of hate. When shared among group members, hate can spread fast in conflict zones where people are exposed to hate-based violence, which further feeds their hate. Hate can be reassuring and self-protective, because its message is simple and helps confirming people’s belief in a just world.

  • Canetti, D., Hirsch-Hoefler, S., Rapaport, C., Lowe, R. D., & Muldoon, O. T. (2018). Psychological barriers to a peaceful resolution: Longitudinal evidence from the Middle East and Northern Ireland. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 41(8), 660-676.
    Article | Abstract

    Does individual-level exposure to political violence prompt conciliatory attitudes? Does the answer vary by phase of conflict? The study uses longitudinal primary datasets to test the hypothesis that conflict-related experiences impact conciliation. Data were collected from Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Across both contexts, and among both parties to each conflict, psychological distress and threat perceptions had a polarizing effect on conciliatory preferences. The study highlights that experiences of political violence are potentially a crucial source of psychological distress, and consequently, a continuing barrier to peace. This has implications in peacemaking, implying that alongside removing the real threat of violence, peacemakers must also work toward the social and political inclusion of those most affected by previous violence.

  • Hou, W. K., Canetti, D., Ma, T. W., Hall, B. J., Lau, K. M., Ng, S. M., & Hobfoll, S. E. (2018). What Predicts Threat Perceptions Toward People Opposing to the Government? A Population-Based Study Following Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 6(2), 383-400.
    Article | Abstract

    We examined the incidence and predictors of threat perceptions toward people who oppose government action (i.e., protestors) following the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (September 28th to December 15th, 2014). A population-representative sample of 1,208 citizens (mean age = 46.89 years; 52.4% female) was recruited two months after the conclusion of the Movement using random digit dialing. Upon giving their informed consent, respondents reported sociodemographics, perceived threats of protestors to the prospects of democracy, ways of life, and the economy, anxiety symptoms (STAI), and depressive symptoms (PHQ-9). More than half disagreed that protestors threatened the prospects of democracy (54.7%, 95% CI = .52, .57), ways of life (52.2%, 95% CI = .49, .55), and the economy (51.4%, 95% CI = .49, .54). Regression analyses revealed that male sex was associated with lower odds of perceiving threats to the prospects of democracy and ways of life. Being unmarried was associated with lower odds of perceiving threats to the economy. Secondary education level and depressive symptoms were associated with higher odds of perceiving threats to ways of life and the economy, respectively. This is one of the first population-based studies that measured socioeconomic and mental health correlates of political attitudes immediately following pro-democracy movements.

  • Khatib, I., Canetti, D., & Rubin, A. (2018). Conflict perception: a new scale with evidence from Israel and Palestine. International Journal of Conflict Management, 29(3), 376-397.
    Article | Abstract

    The current work aims to introduce the concept of conflict perception and construct a scale that measures individual differences in perceptions about conflicts along religious, national and material dimensions. The concept and the measure are developed in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
    The research design combines three methodological elements: 14 focus groups in Israel and the West Bank, which represent diversity in place of residence, religion, age and political background; an expert panel review; and a survey of 411 student respondents that was conducted between September 29 and October 9, 2013, among university students in Israel and Palestine.
    The findings show that conflict perception is an individual’s subjective view regarding the essence of the conflict and its central issues, the identities of the parties involved and their motivations, which may include material, ideological or symbolic motives, or any combination thereof. A novel scale consisting of five statements that can measure conflict perception that was developed, validated and implemented via a survey sample showed that Palestinians in the West Bank and in Israel have a religious perception of the conflict, whereas Jews have a national perception of the conflict.
    First, the paper introduces a new concept that sheds additional light on the micro foundations of peoples’ attitudes in conflict situations. Second, it develops and validates a measurement tool for conflict perception that may be usable, with necessary adjustments, in other conflicts. Third, it demonstrates that parties to the conflict do not necessarily share similar perceptions about the conflict, a finding with far-reaching consequences for conflict resolution at both the scholarly and policy levels.

  • Canetti, D., Hirschberger, G., Rapaport, C., Elad‐Strenger, J., Ein‐Dor, T., Rosenzveig, S., … & Hobfoll, S. E. (2018). Collective trauma from the lab to the real world: The effects of the holocaust on contemporary Israeli political cognitions. Political Psychology, 39(1), 3-21.
    Article | Abstract

    This research tested whether chronic or contextually activated Holocaust exposure is associated with more extreme political attitudes among Israeli Jews. Study 1 (N = 57), and Study 2 (N = 61) found that Holocaust primes increased support for aggressive policies against a current adversary and decreased support for political compromise via an amplified sense of identification with Zionist ideology. These effects, however, were obtained only under an exclusive but not an inclusive framing of the Holocaust. Study 3 (N = 152) replicated these findings in a field study conducted around Holocaust Remembrance Day and showed that the link between Holocaust exposure, ideological identification, and militancy also occurs in real‐life settings. Study 4 (N = 867) demonstrated in a nationally representative survey that Holocaust survivors and their descendants exhibited amplified existential threat responses to contemporary political violence, which were associated with militancy and opposition to peaceful compromises. Together, these studies illustrate the Holocaustization of Israeli political cognitions 70 years later.