Herzliya-2023, Professor Ruth Feldman, Director of the Center for Developmental Social Neuroscience at the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at Reichman University, together with her research partners, investigated whether it would be possible to create interventions for adolescents from polarized groups in society. Based on findings from the field of neuroscience, experience multigenerational conflict. Could such an intervention improve the brain’s responses to others, and would those improvements be maintained over time?
As global conflict escalates crowd, violence among citizens in cities, and the growing involvement of youth in civil conflicts, there seems to be an urgent need to develop science-based approaches to mitigate hatred and aggression and promote empathy among youth who grow up in reality heart and dialogue. long conflict.
The method developed by Professor Feldman and her colleagues is based on new insights from neuroscience—particularly social neuroscience—and her lab’s long-running research into the “biology of love” (and hate).In this study, the researchers established a unique Synchronize- focus put one’s oar in and examined its effects on the neurological and hormonal responses and communicative behavior of Jewish and Arab adolescents. The intervention titled “Tools for Dialogue” was a manualized group intervention involving eight sessions between Jewish and Arab adolescents.
Each session lasted approximately two and a half hours and consisted of twelve boys or girls, six of whom were Jewish and six Arab. The meeting was chaired by two mediators, one Jewish and one Arab, both of whom had extensive experience assisting Jewish-Arab groups. Each session begins and ends with a synchronized group ritual (familiar song, movement, expression practice, etc.) that releases tension and brings the group together biologically and behaviorally into a biobehavioral unit.
After this, the topic of the meeting is introduced and the group is divided into pairs or groups of four, including Jews and Arabs, who perform specific tasks on the topic to present to the group.
During the intervention, researchers focused on behavior and acquired behavioral tools for having conversations, with the goal of teaching adolescents how to foster respectful conversations with others (even if they disagree with them), develop empathy for each other, and understand Behavioral and psychological barriers (such as bias) to the conversation.
A conscious decision was made to avoid discussing the nature of the Jewish-Arab conflict, or discussions about who was right or who was the victim. If these topics come up, focus on the behavioral techniques discussed and how to keep both perspectives in mind, even if you believe yours with all your heart.
Professor Ruth Feldman, from the Center for Developmental Social Neuroscience at the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at Reichman University, said: “This study shows for the first time that an intervention based on increasing behavioral synchrony among groups involved in difficult conflicts can stimulate empathic responses in the brain and attenuate the effects of prejudice. Neural basis, reduces cortisol response (stress), increases oxytocin (love) and shapes more mutual, less hostile human interactions. ”
“Even seven years later, this change was evident in the participants, with young people receiving the intervention developing a more tolerant attitude toward each other, believing in finding solutions, and actively engaging as young people in dialogue and peace initiatives.”
Works published in journals Association of National Academies.
Jonathan Levy et al., Dialogue interventions for youth in intractable conflicts attenuate neural bias responses and promote peacemaking in adults, Association of National Academies (2022). DOI: 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac236
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Respectful conversations start with training the brain (January 24, 2023)
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