The Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution presents Our Brains at War?
A virtual talk with Mari Fitzduff, Professor Emerita and founding director of the master’s professional programs in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at Brandeis University
Professor Fitzduff’s book, Our Brains at War: The Neuroscience of Conflict and Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press 2021) suggests that we need a radical change in how we think about war, leadership, and politics. Most of us, political scientists included, fail to appreciate the extent to which instincts and emotions, rather than logic, factor into our societal conflicts and international wars. Many of our physiological and genetic tendencies, of which we are mostly unaware, can all too easily fuel our antipathy towards other groups, make us choose ‘strong’ leaders over more mindful leaders, assist recruitment for illegal militias, and facilitate even the most gentle of us to inflict violence on others. Drawing upon the latest research from emerging areas such as behavioral genetics, biopsychology, political psychology, and social and cognitive neuroscience, the book identifies the sources of compelling instincts and emotions, and how we can acknowledge and better manage them so as to develop international and societal peace more effectively.