In October, Professors Linda Tropp (UMass-Amherst)and Emile Bruneau (UPenn) will discuss groundbreaking research around dehumanization of immigrants and other minority groups and its policy implications.
Dr. Tropp’s research focuses on expectations and outcomes of intergroup contact, identification with social groups, interpretations of intergroup relationships, and responses to prejudice and disadvantage. She received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good.
Tropp is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She has been a visiting scholar at the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (New Zealand), the Kurt Lewin Institute (Netherlands), the Marburg Center for Conflict Studies (Germany), Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile), the University of California, Berkeley (USA), and the International Graduate College on Conflict and Cooperation (Germany, UK, Belgium), where she taught seminars and workshops on prejudice reduction and intervention.
She has worked with national organizations to present social science evidence in U.S. Supreme Court cases on racial integration, on state and national initiatives to improve interracial relations in schools, and with non-governmental and international organizations to evaluate applied programs designed to reduce racial and ethnic conflict.
Dr. Emile Bruneau is a research associate and lecturer at the Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab. Bruneau is also the lead scientist at the Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab(link is external). Prior to his formal training in neuroscience, Bruneau worked, traveled, and lived in a number of conflict regions: South Africa during the transition from Apartheid to Democracy, Sri Lanka during one of the largest Tamil Tiger strikes in that nation's history, Ireland during "The Troubles," Israel/Palestine around the Second Intifada.
Bruneau is now working to bring the tools of science to bear on the problem of intergroup conflict by (1) building methods to better characterize the (often unconscious) cognitive biases that drive conflict using explicit, implicit and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques, and (2) critically evaluating efforts aimed at transcending these biases. These efforts have focused on three psychological processes relevant to intergroup conflict: empathy, dehumanization, and motivated reasoning, and involve target groups that are embroiled in intractable conflict (e.g., Israelis and Palestinians), or subject to extreme hostility (e.g., Muslims in the U.S., the Roma in Europe).