CURRENT INITIATIVES

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.

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Children are not born racists, but rather, learn to be racist. Yet there is little research on how race-based preferences develop in early childhood, which prevents us from creating effective ways to stop children from developing racial preferences. Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab aims to present the largest, first-ever assessment of the variables that determine and predict race-based preferences in children aged 4-8.

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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. As part of the problem, the Muslim community tends to be collectively blamed for the acts of individual terrorists, while other groups don’t usually face this challenge. 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.

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The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychologists is a pilot educational and self-care tool written for individuals (16+) 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 most close and organized contact with large numbers of community members struggling with mental health and wellbeing.

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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.

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