Lorentz Center - Obstacles and Catalysts of Peaceful Behavior from 18 Mar 2013 through 22 Mar 2013
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    Obstacles and Catalysts of Peaceful Behavior
    from 18 Mar 2013 through 22 Mar 2013

Obstacles and Catalysts of Peaceful Behavior

Obstacles and Catalysts of Peaceful Behavior

from 18 -  22 March 2013


Workshop Goals

Mutually beneficial behaviors such as cooperation, helping, and sharing, as well as behaviors that keep aggression in check or reestablish nonviolent relations and tolerance following conflict are ubiquitous in nature and part and parcel of human nature. Explaining how and why such peaceful behaviors have evolved and persist counts among the greatest challenges for behavioral science. The main goal of this workshop was to provide an international forum for productive cross-disciplinary interaction among researchers in this emerging area.


Workshop Proceedings

The workshop included many formats to facilitate formal and informal interaction among participants including plenary talks, Q & A sessions, topical sessions, poster presentations, break-out group discussion sessions, final précis of the presentations and discussions, and a concluding roundtable discussion. While the plenary talks followed a traditional single speaker format, the jointly presented topical sessions varied in format depending on the ideas and particular goals of the session contributors. Participants also interacted during lunches, coffee breaks, an opening reception, and a dinner cruise.


The daily themes were chosen to ellicit insights and answers to the guiding questions of the workshop: (1) What can knowledge about peace in nature tell us about peace in human nature? and (2) What social and cognitive factors obstruct or facilitate peaceful behavior?  The majority of the participants (53 % female) were established specialists from universities in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Some students also actively participated in the program. Disciplines represented included primatology, anthropology, behavioral biology, developmental- and peace psychology, neuroscience, and political science.


Workshop Results

The feedback from participants has been very positive. One of the participants captured the synergy of the unique mixture of topics addressed during the workshop well, “It was very interesting to see how apparently disconnected realities, such as molecular biology, canine ethology, cooperation in primates, oxytocin, and Japan's Article 9, came together and made sense in developing an alternative insight on peaceful behavior.” In addition to the establishment of new research collaborations there are a number of tangible outcomes of the workshop, including a forthcoming special issue in the journal Behaviour and an edited book to be published by John Wiley & Sons, Publishers.


The organizer are grateful for the support received from the Lorentz Center and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) as well as from the additional sponsors the Joannes Juda Stichting voor Interdisciplinair Gedragswetenschappelijk Onderzoek (SIGO; trsl: JJ Groen Foundation for Interdisciplinary Behavioral Science), Ĺbo Akademi University, and the Wenner Gren Foundation.


Peter Verbeek (Miyazaki, Japan)

Douglas Fry (Vasa, Finland)