Using Neuroscience to Find Peace In a Time of Extremes

Broadcast on August 10, 2016
With Mari Fitzduff

How can our understanding of the biological hardware and software of our minds and our bodies help us understand how easily we fall into and maintain violence and conflicts? How are the bio sciences of genetics, hormones and neuroscience deepening our appreciation of how we are constrained we are biologically in our capacities to create peace? And and how can such sciences increase our understanding of how we can overcome such restraints so as to increase the effectiveness of our peacebuilding work?

  • A greater understanding of the importance of intuitions and feelings over rationality in creating and maintaining violence and conflict.
  • An understanding that all brains are different - and that we need both conservatism and liberalism for a balanced and safe society.
  • An understanding of how the new knowledge we are gaining from the bio sciences can assist us in more effective peacebuilding.

Mari Fitzduff

Founding Director of the masters professional conflict resolution program in Brandeis University.

Mari Fitzduff is Founding Director of the Masters professional programs in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School at Brandeis University. Previously she was the founding CEO of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council which funded and worked with government, trade unions, community groups, police and army groups, paramilitaries, prisoners, businesses and politicians on issues of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. Mari has also held a Chair of Conflict Studies at the University of Ulster where she was Director of a United Nations University researching peacebuilding program and practice development around the world. She has also worked on many international programs on conflict issues in the Basque Country, the Caucasus, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Indonesia, Russia, Crimea, Cameroon, Philippines, Peru and Columbia., Mari has written five books on conflict and peace issues and her latest report focuses on the usefulness of neuroscience to peacebuilding. She is currently working on issues of Followership, particularly of paramilitary groups such as ISIS, and is also editing a political psychology book for Praegar Press on the myth of rational politics, which will focus in particular on the phenomenon of Trumpism, and why it has been so successful in engaging with so many possible voters.