Coalitional Psychology, Inter-ethnic Conflict and Well-being

Co-PI: Rengin Bahar Firat

PI: Pascal Boyer, Washington University in St. Louis

This project examines the coalitional psychological mechanisms through which ethnic polarization is linked to health and well-being.

This project focuses on psychological mechanisms for coalition building and rivalry detection underlying subjective well-being and health, integrating evolutionary psychology with comparative social scientific research. In our investigations, we analyze data from publicly available data sets like the European Social Survey and collect new nationally representative data from France, South Africa, Brazil China and the U.S. The main premise of our research is that in contemporary racially un-egalitarian societies, interactions with different racial and ethnic group members trigger a cognitive system that categorizes people into threats and rivals, and in turn deteriorates well-being and health through eliciting stress, anxiety and negative affect. So far, we have published our theoretical background and results in journal outlets like Perspectives on Psychological Science and Social Science Research. Going forward, we will produce more research articles elucidating important inter-personal and macro-level structural and ideological factors facilitating or impeding well-being and health.