Dehumanization – perceiving other people as less than human – has been associated with the darkest chapters in human history, from slavery and colonization to war and genocide. Beyond Conflict wants to understand the psychological processes and brain mechanisms that underlie and shape some of the psychology of dehumanization and develop measures to detect, reduce, and prevent it.
Muslims are one of the most disliked and dehumanized groups in the West, including the US. Persistent Islamophobia has severe consequences, both for Muslims and non-Muslims. Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab focuses on understanding what drives anti-Muslim hostility and building and testing new, targeted interventions to reduce Islamophobia and anti-Muslim behavior. The Innovation Lab aims to explore the cognitive mechanisms at the heart of anti-Muslim bias that leads an entire culture to be blamed for individual acts.
Human beings are not born racist; rather, they learn to be racist. Studies have shown that race-based preferences emerge between three and five years old, yet little work has been undertaken in brain and behavioral science to investigate what influences the development of these preferences. The Preempting Racism project seeks to discover more about when and why young children acquire race-based preferences, and then pilot and test different approaches to prevent it from developing in the first place.
The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychologists is a pilot educational and self-care tool written for individuals (18+) forcibly displaced, and for those working with them. It is intended most specifically for migrants and refugees who themselves may work in humanitarian and aid programs, as they have the closest and organized contact with large numbers of community members struggling with mental health and wellbeing.
Deepening polarization among Democrats and Republicans in the United States represents a major challenge to American political and social life. Left unaddressed, it will further weaken the United States domestically and around the world. Beyond Conflict is working to create accurate, accessible, and actionable measurements and tools for policymakers, practitioners, funders, and others interested in reducing polarization in order to create better informed responses and programs across the United States.