Priming effects of a reconciliation radio drama on historical perspective-taking in the aftermath of mass violence in Rwanda

Rezarta Bilali / Johanna Ray Vollhardt (2013)

Key facts

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Type of publication
Journal article
Elements of social cohesion
Other ()
Geographical focus
Main thematic areas
Conflict & peacebuilding


A field experiment in Rwanda investigated the impact of a radio drama designed to increase perspective-taking with regard to the history of intergroup conflict. An audio-based priming technique was used to assess the causal impact of the radio drama. Rwandan participants (N=842) listened to an audio-delivered questionnaire recorded either in the voice of a main character of the radio drama (experimental priming condition) or an unknown actor (control condition). Participants primed with the radio drama reported higher levels of historical perspective-taking, engaged less in competitive victimhood, and expressed less mistrust toward the out-group. Overall, the findings suggest that fictional radio dramas can be used to address opposing historical narratives in the aftermath of violent conflict. Additionally, the study demonstrates the usefulness of a priming paradigm to assess causal influence of mass media interventions.

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