1.1 Introducing Neuroscience

Introducing Neuroscience and Behavioural Neuroscience

Our brains are built, transformed, and regulated through social interactions (Senland, 2015). During conflict, our social interactions are likely to change, which again impacts our brain and body, thereby affecting our behaviour. For example, when we experience stress, which frequently happens to people during conflict, our brains are aroused. This arousal again can significantly affect our behaviour (including what you may know as “fight or flight behaviours”).  Understanding what is happening in the brain in these situations can support analysis and prediction of the behaviours of people in conflict. To increase this understanding, we can look to neuroscience as an interdisciplinary field concerned with studying the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience studies can occur on various levels, including the molecular, cellular, synaptic, network, computational and behavioural levels (Freberg, 2019). This eBook focuses on the behavioural level, which is commonly referred to as “behavioural neuroscience” or “biological psychology” and is defined as “the study of the biological foundations of behaviour, emotions, and mental processes” (Freberg, 2019, p. 2). Since this eBook focuses on connecting neuroscience, psychology and conflict, we will focus on those biological foundations that are most relevant to help explain why people experience conflict and how they may be supported to manage and resolve their conflicts.

We will now take a closer look at those biological foundations with a focus on the human brain, and listen to/watch [14:55] David Rock, the author and founder of the “SCARF model” talk about why people should be interested in learning about the brain (we will consider the SCARF  model later in this chapter):

David Rock, in this talk, mentions numerous terms that not everyone may be familiar with, including neural networks, cortisol, dopamine, prefrontal cortex, and the limbic system. We will consider all these (and many more) terms in more detail throughout this chapter.


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Neuroscience, Psychology and Conflict Management Copyright © 2024 by Judith Rafferty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.