DANIEL BAR-TAL is Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at School of Education , Tel Aviv University. He received his graduate training in social psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and completed his doctoral thesis in 1974. He is currently Professor of Psychology at the School of Education, Tel-Aviv University. He served as a Director of the Walter Lebach Research Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence through Education, Tel Aviv University (2002-2005) and was a Co-editor in Chief of the Palestine Israel Journal (2001-2005). He also served as the President of the International Society of Political Psychology (1999-2000). In 1991, his paper "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; A Cognitive Analysis" won the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and in 2002 his paper "Why does fear override hope" was first runner (won the second place) in the same competition. In 2009 his paper "Reconciliation as a foundation of culture of peace" won again the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize of SPSSI. Being awarded the Golestan Fellowship, he spent the year 2000-2001 at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS). In 2006 his book, coauthored with Yona Teichman, Stereotypes and Prejudice in Conflict, published in 2005 by Cambridge University Press, received the Alexander George Award of the International Society of Political Psychology for the best book in Political Psychology. In 2006 he also received Peace Scholar Award of the Peace and Justice Studies Association for great scholarship and hard work in studying conflicts and peace making. In 2011 he received the Lasswell Award of the International Society of Political Psychology for "distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology." In 2012 he received the Nevitt Sanford Award of the International Society of Political Psychology for engaging in the practical application of political psychological principles, and creating knowledge that is accessible and used by practitioners to make a positive difference in the way politics is carried out.
In the first phase of his career he was interested in helping behavior and attribution theory, which resulted in dozens of contributing papers. During this period he also published the book, Prosocial Behavior (Halsted, 1976), and coedited Development and Maintenance of Prosocial Behavior (Plenum, 1984), The Social Psychology of Education (Halsted, 1978) and New Approaches to Social Problems: Applications of Attribution Theory (Jossey-Bass, 1979).
Since early eighties his interest has shifted to political psychology. First, he was interested in shared beliefs in groups and societies, in general studying their formation, function and change. Later he directed most of his attention to the study of the socio-psychological foundations of intractable conflicts and peace building, including reconciliation. In the latter area, he studied the evolvement of the socio-psychological infrastructure in times of intractable conflict that consists of shared societal beliefs of ethos of conflict, of collective memory, and emotional collective orientations. He examined their contents, acquisition, functions, societal mechanisms of their maintenance and institutionalization, as well as their contribution to the crystallization of social identity and development of culture of conflict during the conflict. Also he studied socio-psychological barriers to peacemaking and ways to overcome them. In this framework, he also examined the required changes in this socio-psychological repertoire for conflict resolution and reconciliation. Specifically, he proposed a conceptual framework for the evolvement of ethos of peace and reconciliation, for the development of peace education and eventually of peace culture. In addition, in order to understand maintenance of conflicts he studied acquisition of the conflict repertoire by children and adolescents.
Within this scope of studies he developed with his collaborators theoretical frameworks for concepts like siege mentality, intractable conflict, security, patriotism, delegitimization, collective victimhood, ethos of conflict, collective emotional orientation, socio-psychological infrastructure, culture of conflict, routinization of culture of conflict, coping psychologically with occupation, effects of lasting occupation, barriers to peace making, self-censorship, construction and struggle over conflict supporting narratives, acquisition of intergroup psychological repertoire, transitional context, collective identity, reconciliation, culture of peace, and peace education.
The work in these areas has resulted in books, Group Beliefs (Springer-Verlag, 1990), Shared Beliefs in a Society (Sage, 2000), Stereotypes and Prejudice in Conflict: Representations of Arabs in Israeli Jewish Society (Cambridge University Press, 2005), Living with the conflict (Carmel, 2007- in Hebrew), Intractable conflicts: Socio-psychological foundations and dynamics (Cambridge University Press, 2013) in which he summarized his ideas and empirical work of the last 30 years. He co-edited the following volumes: The Social Psychology of Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 1988), Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict (Springer-Verlag, 1998), Stereotyping and Prejudice (Springer-Verlag, 1989), Patriotism in the Life of Individuals and Nations (Nelson-Hall, 1997), Security Concerns: Insights from the Israeli Experience (JAI, 1998) How Children Understand War and Peace (Jossey Bass, 1999), and Patriotism: Homeland love (Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 2004-in Hebrew). Recently he edited Intergroup conflicts and their resolution: Social psychological perspective, which is a handbook of this area (Psychology Press, 2011) and co-edited The Impacts of lasting occupation: Lessons from Israeli Society (Oxford University Press- 2013). In addition he has published over two hundreds articles and chapters in major social and political psychological journals, books and encyclopedias.
Of special importance in his professional life is founding in 1999 and leading a 'learning community". This community consists of 10-15 graduate students, mostly for doctoral degree, who come from different disciplines and different universities to carry their studies about conflict and their resolution. The "learning community" serves as a framework for learning, reflecting, debating, and developing; carrying conceptual and empirical studies; socialization for academic career and societal involvement; and for social support.
Through the years he has lectured widely on his work in many different countries, and worked as Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University, Nashville; Brandeis University, Boston; Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris; University of Muenster, Germany, University of Maryland, College Park, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw and University of Palermo.