Intergroup conflicts serve as the primary cause of wars and violence around the world. Such conflicts are often triggered and maintained by intense antisocial emotions (e.g., anger), and can potentially be attenuated by prosocial emotions (e.g., empathy). Discovering effective approaches to decrease anger and increase empathy, therefore, is of critical importance. Several contemplative techniques involve emotion regulation processes (e.g., cognitive reappraisal and perspective taking) that can effectively decrease anger, increase empathy, and may therefore contribute to conflict resolution. Yet, to employ these techniques, people must be motivated to do so and this is less likely to occur in conflictual contexts. Recent advances in virtual reality technologies may address this challenge by combining virtual reality with contemplative techniques. In two consecutive behavioral and neuroimaging studies, we will evaluate whether a pre-designed virtual experience can enhance the effects of contemplative techniques in conflictual contexts, and consequently promote positive intergroup relations.

Yoni Levy, PhD

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel

Grantee

Yoni Levy is a neuroscientist studying the way the brain functions during intergroup conflicts. He collaborates with various experts to develop conflict-changing interventions. He then assesses the impact of these … MORE

Eran Halperin, PhD

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel

Grantee

Professor Eran Halperin is the former Dean of the School of Psychology and Professor at IDC Herzliya. An award-winning pioneer in examining emotional processes using field experiments, Dr. Halperin’s research … MORE

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