Previous attempts to understand and address the causes and consequences of conflict do not take into account how the human brain functions even though it is the primary driver of behavior. Current paradigms discount or ignore the unconscious biases present in the human brain, offering only partial or incorrect explanations and predictions about how and why we act.
Beyond Conflict combines nearly 30 years of experience in conflict prevention, resolution, and reconciliation with the latest cognitive and behavioral science. Our team addresses the urgent need to better understand how humans think through the application of rigorous science matched to the needs and input of real-world communities.
We address real-world conflicts by applying our Science-Informed Design (SID) process. Our multidisciplinary team of experts applies the scientific method in an iterative, closed-loop process to develop interventions that consider and measure the mechanisms that drive human behavior. Our research focuses on the neurobiological and social-psychology drivers of change, the cognitive science of identity and belonging, dehumanization and empathy, trauma, and trust.
After generating scientific evidence, we design processes to translate research insights into actionable and practical solutions. We provide practitioners, policymakers, and decision-makers with new tools that work at scale to create measurable impact and mitigate conflict.
This method of Science-Informed Design has been used in Kenya to build resilience in communities being targeted for recruitment by terrorist organizations, such as Al-Shabaab. It has also been tested in Colombia to assist in the reintegration of former rebels into the political community, and has guided early-stage engagement with artists, cultural institutions, and city officials in London, Baltimore and Boston interested in assessing and improving the effect of integration efforts, art exhibits, and structural drivers of racism.
The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology, that we are now deploying and testing with Syrian refugees in Jordan, uses a Science-Informed Design approach to help refugees and migrants understand the impact of trauma and forced displacement on the mind and body, and teaches them self-care exercises to boost their resilience and well-being.
The Science-Informed Design process can be applied repeatedly to create systemic transformative brain and behavioral change in a variety of circumstances. This includes better measurement and evaluation of the effect of existing interventions and the creation of entirely new solutions to conflict and its consequences.