2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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ICCCRers go to IACM in Istanbul!

The ICCCR community participated in the 24th annual conference of the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM), held this year in Istanbul, Turkey.  The team presented five research projects on conflict, which the research workgroup at the Center had studied and explored through the lens offered by dynamical systems theory.  Below is more information about each of the five research projects presented:

1) Prof. Peter Coleman and Katharina Kugler shared their work on how adaption to the key conflict parameters of goal interdependence, degree of interdependence, and relative power, through the adjustment of behaviors and strategies affected conflict outcomes.  An assessment tool was also developed to measure how well people adapt to these parameters and to help them improve their ability to optimalize their responses to different situations. 

2) Regina Kim's project was an expansion of this work on adaptivity, as it aimed to cross-culturally validate the assessment tool with South Koreans, who differ from U.S. Americans along the value dimensions of independence-interdependence and power distance.  The study showed that culture does indeed make a difference in how people respond to conflicts and what leads to positive outcomes, but in surprising and unexpected ways. 

3) Another project exploring culture's impact on conflict was discussed by Stine Chung.  This work studied the structure of a culture's rules for conflict and empirically tested its effects on conflict dynamics for the parties in dispute, finding that higher levels of complexity in structure led to more positive, constructive outcomes in both subjective and objective responses. 

4) Complexity was also studied in another paper presented by Katharina, looking into the factors that lead to successful social relations or destructive escalations when discussing moral conflicts.  They found that, not only did cognitive, emotional, and behavioral complexity affect the positive or negative trajectory of these discussions, they could also be affected by the introduction of low or high integrative complexity to the discussants. 

5) Finally, Prof. Coleman presented research on how regulatory focus--the desire to gain something good or to avoid something bad--can reveal a more nuanced understanding of social conflicts when studied over time and also as two separate dimensions rather than one polar dimension.  This study found that different orientations or combinations of orientations were optimal for different kinds of conflict situations.

Click here to view pictures!

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