Moral Schemas, Cultural Conflict, and Socio-Political Action

Co-PI: Rengin Bahar Firat

PI: Steven Hitlin, University of Iowa

This project employs a cross-cultural empirical strategy combining social scientific survey methodology with neuroscientific brain imaging techniques to reveal the role of values in social mobilization. More specifically, we focus on how internalized moral codes and values anchored in social identities trigger socio-political evaluations and action, comparing Turkey, France, South Korea the U.S., combining fMRI with nationally representative surveys. We utilize a two-phase methodology that collects large-scale survey data from the U.S., Turkey, France and South Korea to identify important value dimensions for each culture (Phase 1), and then obtain neurological and behavioral data from the U.S. and Turkey while people respond (partnered with people who share or violate those values) to cultural conflict scenarios threatening these important values in a functional Magnetic Resonance Scanner (Phase 2). Findings will contribute to effective strategies and policies in reducing inter-group conflict and violence by revealing how values in different contexts motivate responses to cultural conflict.