The lecture-presentation which was delivered by Prof. Dr. Carolina Lopez C. during the Wednesday Forum held on April 21, 2010 was “Moving beyond Violence: Potential Applications of Cognitive Restructuring Theory for Conflict Transformation.” And Faqiudin A Qodir acted as moderator.
For her opening, Prof. Lopez introduced the Center for Dialogue & Human Wellbeing (CDBH) and their involvements in various types of dialogue-related work such as Peace Education, Conflict Transformation Work, Healing of Historical Memories to name a few. After that, she explained that in doing their job an analytical tool is utilized for the entire process which is known as Ideological-Structural Analysis Micro-theory that explores the “formatting”? of memory stores in the brain, and how these are activated leading to habitual violent pattern of response to particular inputs. According to her, in conflict situations where violence has become normativized, ISA-based workshops offer the participants the possibility of consciously choosing peaceful alternatives responses to the stimuli which provoked violence behavioral outputs on their part.
The discussion explored the literature on Cognitive Restructuring Theory as well, asking what useful insights it might offer to aid in the process of moving communities from patterns of habitual violence to a normativizing of collaboration among peoples who have formerly been in conflict. Lopez discussed the Brain Neuroplasticity and Potential Applications of Cognitive Restructuring Theory for Denormativizing Violence.
She said that hard-wired responses can be restructured. It means that Neuroplasticity allows for carefully-designed activities to restructure the brain, changing our behaviors through “learning”, creating new imprints, modifying memory stores, shifting expectations and interpretations. All of this leaves observable changes in the brains storage mechanisms (Gage, 2004) and many others.
Because of time constraint, Prof. Lopez cut short her lecture and proceeded to the open forum. Many interesting reactions and questions were thrown to the speaker who received it and responded to it pleasantly.
Prof. Dr. Carolina Lopez C. is the director of Center for Dialogue and Human Wellbeing, a professor of International Relations at Tecnologico de Monterrey University, Chihuahua in Mexico, and a senior research fellow at the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue at the University of Malaya.
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