Psychology of Underdogs and Israeli P.R.

Using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and sports, researchers found that people tend to support underdogs. See the full report (pdf format).

Daled Amos summarizes and comments:

When Israel was portrayed as larger:

• 70% saw Palestinians as the underdog
• But only 53% were more supportive of the Palestinians
• There was a little more sympathy toward the Palestinians (3.77 vs. 3.73)

When Israel was portrayed as small on the map:

• 62.1% saw Israel as the underdog
• But 76.7% were more supportive of Israel
• There was more sympathy towards Israel (4.00 vs. 3.30)–especially compared to Palestinians when they were perceived as the underdog.

Apparently being the underdog isn’t everything–terrorism and corruption does seem to take a toll. The study also concluded that opinions about Israel and the Palestinians were “malleable,” which may mean that the damage done by Israel’s lackluster attempt at Hasbarah may not be permanent.