Breaking the Dynamics of Emotions and Fear in Conflict and Reconstruction
How can a neurological look at the dynamics of emotions in general and fear in particular help finding better strategies in conflict prevention and / or resolution?


The present research project wants to help develop new methods in conflict resolution and negotiation, in order to account for the fact that dynamics of confrontations between individuals and groups are often characterized by emotions such as fear. Oftentimes indeed, fear will paradoxically lead to aggressive or exclusionary behaviour. Such emotional aspects are difficult to overcome. The project wants to try to lift some of these difficulties by looking at how emotional aspects of conflicts could be superseded by using appropriate resolution and negotiation strategies.

The project also plans to use modelling tools drawing on both macro and agent based approaches, while emphasizing both rational and emotional aspects of conflicts. The project aims at filling some gaps in the existing research on conflict and cooperation by focusing with more attention on the interdisciplinary aspects of the research, and particularly the important inputs that behavioural neuro-science research can bring in order to better understand the issues at stake; and emphasizing the dynamic aspects of escalatory conflict and cooperative processes.

Project Keywords

  • Conflict


  • Economics
  • Political science

Relevant Countries

  • Afghanistan
  • India
  • Israel
  • Sudan


This project, started in 2010, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Urs Luterbacher
Graduate Institute Geneva

Carmen Sandi
Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Lars-Erik Cederman
Associated Member
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Graciela Chichilnisky
Associated Member
Columbia University in the City of New York