“The Biology of Conflict Resolution”: The Nexus Project

Last week the Quinnipiac University School of Law and Yale Law School Dispute Resolution Workshop kicked off another year of bringing renowned experts in the field of conflict resolution to Connecticut. The first lecture featured an excellent presentation by Douglas Yarn and Gregory Todd Jones of Georgia State University College of Law. Under the auspices of the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, they are the Principal Investigators of the Nexus Project.

As they so aptly state in their description of the project: “The study of conflict resolution is a study of human behavior in a particular context; however, the biology of human behavior in this context has received little attention.” Their goal is to identify and develop the nexus between the fields of biology and conflict resolution.

Their schema describes a cycle of behavior involving trust, fairness, forgiveness, vengefulness, and, potentially, the restoration of trust through reconciliation. Although their talk at Quinnipiac allowed them to discuss the schema in more detail than their website does, the diagram of the cycle and the brief description of its features shown there give a solid sense of the framework for their research. Other pages provide additional information. Practitioners of conflict resolution and anyone else interested in why we humans behave the way we do in the context of conflict will find their research and conclusions intriguing.

Posted in Basics of Mediation and Conflict, Monday, September 17th, 2007

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