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Strictly clinical perspectives on domestic abuse focus on the psychological wellbeing of the victim and the structural factors of victimization, resulting in several unresolved questions regarding the role of public intervention. Because public intervention is the main predictor for preventing future assaults, the practical aim of this study is to increase public intervention by drawing from evolutionary psychology to identify and explain the central factors that minimize intervention. Our data show that most people express significant ambivalence and make anomalous decisions when confronted with various forms of domestic violence. We analyse a number of significant factors that decrease intervention behaviours and show how they are consistent with evolutionary theories of revenge-avoidance behaviour and cognitive mechanisms designed to avoid revenge-seeking scenarios.

In: Forgiveness or Revenge? Restitution or Retribution?
Author: Jordan Kiper


Do human rights have religious foundations? Among philosophers and theologians, the question tends to invite two standard replies. Some accept the boundary between the secular and the religious, and say that the universal protection of freedoms, possessions, and duties associated with human rights extend beyond any religious system. Others are impressed by arguments suggesting that the moral standards within human rights are inherently religious. In this paper I propose a third position. By taking the perspective of relative universalism, I draw a distinction between the conceptualization and implementation of human rights. The former is a historical process that is arguably bereft of religion, while the latter is a dynamic process that often embraces it. This distinction motivates my central thesis: although religion is absent from the normative and historical foundations of human rights, the realization of human rights in some regions of the world today often requires it.

In: Religion & Human Rights
In: Perspectives on Forgiveness
In: Perspectives on Forgiveness
In: Perspectives on Forgiveness
Contrasting Approaches to Concepts of Forgiveness and Revenge
Demands for forgiveness, even in the face of horrific crimes, were common to the late twentieth century and remain critical aspirations for persons and communities in the early twenty-first century. Research on forgiveness and revenge has nevertheless revealed that many people hold divergent moral and pragmatic beliefs about forgiving, and most survivors express longstanding skepticism about when forgiveness is appropriate and when it is not. By taking an interdisciplinary approach to these issues, the current volume considers the complexities of forgiveness and revenge in the modern world. The chapters address some of the most critical inquiries today: How is forgiveness facilitated or obstructed? What is the role of truth, restitution, reparation or retribution? When is forgiveness without restitution appropriate? Is forgiveness in the true sense of the term even possible? Through empirical, theoretical and literary analyses, this volume addresses the power of revenge and forgiveness in human affairs and offers a unique outlook on the benefits of interdisciplinary discussions for enhancing forgiveness and deterring revenge in multiple aspects of human life.


What is the relationship between war propaganda and nationalism, and what are the effects of each on support for, or participation in, violent acts? This is an important question for international criminal law and ongoing speech crime trials, where prosecutors and judges continue to assert that there is a clear causal link between war propaganda, nationalism, and mass violence. Although most legal judgments hinge on the criminal intent of propagandists, the question of whether and to what extent propaganda and nationalism interact to cause support for violence or participation remains unanswered. Our goal here is to contribute to research on propaganda and nationalism by bridging international criminal law and the behavioral and brain sciences. We develop an experiment conducted with Serbian participants that examines the effects of propaganda as identified in the latest international speech crime trial as causing mass violence, and thereby test hypotheses of expert witness Anthony Oberschall’s theory of mass manipulation. Using principal components analysis and Bayesian regression, we examine the effects of propaganda exposure and prior levels of nationalism as well as other demographics on support for violence, ingroup empathy, and outgroup empathy. Results show that while exposure to war propaganda does not increase justifications of violence, specific types of war propaganda increase ingroup empathy and decrease outgroup empathy. Further, although nationalism by itself is not significant for justifying violence, the interaction of increased nationalism and exposure to violent media is significant for altering group empathies. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to international criminal law and the cognitive science of nationalism.

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In: Journal of Cognition and Culture