Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace

Date:
October 17, 2013
Source:
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:
In a new review of how psychology research has illuminated the causes of war and violence, three political psychologists say this understanding can and should be used to promote peace and overturn the belief that violent conflict is inevitable.

In a new review of how psychology research has illuminated the causes of war and violence, three political psychologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say this understanding can and should be used to promote peace and overturn the belief that violent conflict is inevitable.

Writing in the current special "peace psychology" issue of American Psychologist, lead author Bernhard Leidner, Linda Tropp and Brian Lickel of UMass Amherst's Psychology of Peace and Violence program say that if social psychology research focuses only on how to soften the negative consequences of war and violence, "it would fall far short of its potential and value for society."

"In summarizing psychological perspectives on the conditions and motivations that underlie violent conflict," says Tropp, "we find that psychology's contributions can extend beyond understanding the origins and nature of violence to promote nonviolence and peace." She adds, "We oppose the view that war is inevitable and argue that understanding the psychological roots of conflict can increase the likelihood of avoiding violence as a way to resolve conflicts with others."

Political leaders can be crucial in showing people different paths and alternatives to violent confrontation, the researchers point out. Leidner mentions Nelson Mandela, a leader who "offered South Africans an example of how to deal with the legacy of apartheid without resorting to further violence by making statements such as, 'If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.'"

Leidner and colleagues recall how political and social psychology researchers have in recent decades steadily gained more understanding, through research, of such psychological factors as intergroup threat, uncertainty, group identity, emotions, moral beliefs and how intergroup conflict affects views of the world and of oneself.

They review theory and research that specify psychological factors that contribute to and perpetuate intergroup violence through emotional responses and belief systems fostered by conflict. Finally, they summarize ideas of how psychological "defenses of peace" -- a phrase in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) preamble -- can be constructed in the human mind.

The authors acknowledge that conflict and violence between groups persist because they often give people ways to address psychological needs, for identity, safety, security and power. Nonviolence has received far less media and research attention, they point out, but this should change. The UMass Amherst team urges social psychologists to consider factors that increase empathy and understanding of others, along with factors that increase the capacity for critical evaluation of the "ingroup."

They conclude, "Research that investigates how to mitigate negative consequences of war and violence is valuable," and the studies they summarize, grounded in "realistic insights," support the view that psychology can be applied to promote peace. "It is our contention that psychology can and should be applied to promote peace, not war."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bernhard Leidner, Linda R. Tropp, Brian Lickel. Bringing science to bear—on peace, not war: Elaborating on psychology’s potential to promote peace.. American Psychologist, 2013; 68 (7): 514 DOI: 10.1037/a0032846

Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm>.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. (2013, October 17). War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins