Embodied Conflict: The Neural Basis of Conflict and Communication

Embodied Conflict: The Neural Basis of Conflict and Communication

by Tim Hicks

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Our abilities to learn and remember are at the core of consciousness, cognition, and identity, and are based on the fundamental brain capacity to encode and store perceptual experience in abiding neural structures. These neural structures are the mechanisms by which we know, think about, create beliefs about, and understand the world in which we live. This includes the social world in which we experience conflict with others; our conflicts are largely about differences in what we know, think, believe, and understand. A number of characteristics of the neural encoding function are at the root of and help to explain conflict in our social relations and why some conflicts are difficult to prevent and resolve.

Embodied Conflict presents the neural encoding function in layman’s terms, outlining seven key characteristics and exploring their implications for communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. In doing so, Embodied Conflict situates the field of conflict resolution within the long arc of human history and asks whether and how conflict resolution practice can take another step forward by considering the neural experience of parties in conflict. The book includes many case examples and offers some suggestions for how conflict resolution practitioner training might be expanded to include this theoretical framework and its implications for practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781351616737
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 174
File size: 740 KB

About the Author

Tim Hicks has been a conflict resolution practitioner and teacher for 25 years. From 2006 to 2014, he was the first director of the conflict resolution Master’s degree program at the University of Oregon.

Table of Contents

Embodied Conflict: Perspectives on the Neural Basis of Conflict

Table of Contents



Chapter I. Some basics about humans as living organisms

1.     At birth no knowing

2.     We navigate to survive

3.     Only our five senses

4.     Three levels of survival

a.     Physical

b.     Psychological

c.      Social

5.     Constant process of environmental assessment

a.     Always assigning meaning

b.     Dislike of unknowns and uncertainty

c.     Familiar can be ignored

d.     Mixed relationship to learning

Chapter II. The Neural Encoding Function

  1. Prenatal beginnings
  2. Birth and the beginning of meaning making

Chapter III. Some key characteristics of the neural encoding system

1.     Connectivity, coherence, and consistency

2.     Neural stability and plasticity

3.     Neural activation

4.     Delay between stimulus and response

5.     Expectancy

6.     The dorsal and ventral systems and their balance

7.     Memory

Chapter IV. Implications for conflict and its resolution

1.     Communication

2.     Perception

3.     Identity

4.     Relationship

5.     Trust, betrayal, and trauma

6.     Priming, Mirroring, and Affect Contagion

7.     Knowing and certainty, learning and change

Chapter V. What can we do with this information? Applications to Practice

A. Theoretical Issues

    1. Neutrality
    2. Mediator influence
    3. Impasse
    4. Issues
    5. Positions and Interests
    6. Recovery from Betrayal or Injury
    7. Settlement
    8. Educating the Parties and the Public
    9. Reflective practice

B. Stages of a Process

  1. First Contact with Parties
  2. First Phase of Joint Session with the Parties
  3. Party Story-Telling
  4. Joint Reality Construction
  5. Options Generation
  6. Agreement-Building
  7. Between Sessions and Post-Mediation

C. Practice Issues

    1. Location and setting
    2. Trust-Building
    3. Beyond Active Listening: Mutual Understanding and Acceptance of the Other
    4. Activations, Reactivity, Projections, and Attributions
    5. Emotions
    6. Expectancies Management
    7. Priming
    8. Dealing with Values Conflicts
    9. Somatic interventions

D. Process Design Considerations

    1. Caucusing
    2. Online Asynchronous Mediation
    3. Site Visits
    4. Including an Educational Phase
    5. Linking Progress at the Negotiating Table to Represented Constituencies

Chapter VI. Implications for Training

Chapter VII. Conclusion


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