Instrumental learning refers to those social and cognitive processes of identity negotiation necessary to reconciliation that are derived from engaging former antagonists in sustained cooperative interaction. This kind of interaction allows groups to begin to transform existing negative perceptions of and antagonistic relationships with the Other. As discussed in the social learning model outlined in Chapter 3, instrumental learning depends on the promotion of two key learning mechanisms. First, as insights from the long-standing ‘contact hypothesis’ in social psychology suggest, instrumental learning requires strategies designed to promote positive contact across community boundaries. Indeed, a substantial body of experimental and real-world research has evidenced the independent effect of positive intercommunity contact on challenging negative stereotypes and misperceptions, reducing prejudice, and in aiding in the development of a more inclusive sense of shared identifi cation-all factors considered essential for reconciliation and sustainable peace in divided societies. Second, the content and context of such interaction is important, particularly in terms of whether it can serve to foster deeper exchange in the form of transformative intercommunal dialogue. This kind of intergroup dialogue is held to be a key mechanism of instrumental learning, as it can enable groups to begin to transform the rigidifi ed and hostile perceptions about the Other that informed past confl ict. This step, in turn, allows for greater recognition of shared values and needs, the development of mutual trust, and the broadening of intercommunal empathy to include a reciprocal recognition of basic humanity and moral worth.