Characterizing the processes
that drive intergroup conflict and discrimination
Intuitively, one of the consequences of conflict is an erosion of empathy. However, it is much less clear what this means in conflict situations.
- What type of empathy matters most to intergroup conflict – ‘cognitive’ empathy?
Affective empathy? How can these best be measured?
- Do we fail to empathize with others’ physical pain, or does it have more to do with
denying their grief, humiliation and social pain? Are these similarly processed in the
- Can empathy for one’s own group actually drive conflict?
In the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab, we examine the cognitive roots of empathy, for
example by looking at neural responses to others’ physical pain and emotional suffering, and
we use behavioral research to determine what roles ingroup and outgroup empathy play in real intergroup conflicts.