OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
Citation: Fisher, Roger, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Kupfer Schneider. "Explore Partisan Perceptions." Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping with Conflict. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press, 1994. Pp. 21-23.
Based on their life experiences, people develop different perceptions of things and events. New information often gets filtered through people's established system of views and is used selectively by them to support partisan perceptions.
An example of this is provided by an experiment conducted by the authors with white officials while working in South Africa. Participants were asked to look at a picture which simultaneously depicted an old woman and a young woman. Prior to this, they were split into two groups and each group was predisposed to view only one of the images. Predisposed to see a particular image, those groups were not being able to see the alternative and tried to convince the other to see the picture their way. When participants were revealed the trick, they were quite amazed how influential predisposition to certain way of viewing things can be. One of them admitted that if the people whom he tried to convince in the correctness of his image were black, he would have completely dismissed their opinions rather than being just puzzled by the differences in perceptions.
For dealing with conflicts constructively it is very important to understand others' perspectives and world views; then it is easier to alter them.
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