The Ideological Conflict Project (ICP) seeks to advance understanding of how beliefs, ideas and emotions influence behaviour during conflicts. Using methods drawn from the field of complexity theory, we confront the questions of why people believe what they believe, how their beliefs change, why beliefs are so often resistant to change, and how beliefs motivate violent conflict. Learn More

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Data-driven research on how ideologies are formed and changed

The Ideological Conflict Project (ICP) seeks to advance understanding of how beliefs, ideas and emotions influence behaviour during conflicts. Using methods drawn from the field of complexity theory, we confront the questions of why people believe what they believe, how their beliefs change, why beliefs are so often resistant to change, and how beliefs motivate violent conflict. Learn More

Data-driven research on how ideologies are formed and changed

Researchers

Our core team is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and includes researchers from around the world.

Tools

Discover the three methods we use in our research:  Cognitive Affective Mapping, State Space and Ideological Assemblage

Contact Us

Ask a general question or get in touch with a specific researcher at the Ideological Conflict Project

Drawing from the cognitive and social sciences, the ICP has developed tools for modelling and visualizing beliefs, based on the principle that belief systems emerge from interactions between the minds of individuals and the structures of societies. This allows us to capture the centrality of emotion to the coherence of beliefs, offering a means to treat ideas as data that can be accounted for in assessments of human behavior as readily measurable factors.

Applying these methods to some of the most intractable ideological conflicts of our time, we hope to enhance empathy between parties in conflict, shed light on the deep differences in values that underlie ideological polarization, and recognize points of commonality with potential for imagining innovative solutions to persistent political problems.

Research Publications

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

Mildenberger, M. (2013) “Exploring the State Space of Ideological Possibility” Waterloo, ON: Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation Working Paper no.4.

Milkoreit, M. and Mock, S. (2014). “The networked mind: Collective identities as the key to understanding conflict,” Chapter 8 in Networks and Network Analysis for Defense and Security, ed. Masys, A.J, Springer.

Homer-Dixon, T., Milkoreit, M., Mock, S., Schröder, T., and Thagard, P. (2014). “The conceptual structure of social disputes: Cognitive-affective maps as a tool for conflict analysis and resolution,” SAGE Open.

Homer-Dixon, T., Leader Maynard, J., Mildenberger, M., Milkoreit, M., Mock, S., Quilley, S., Schröder, T., and Thagard, P. (2013). “A complex systems approach to the study of ideology: Cognitive-affective structures and the dynamics of belief change,” Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1): 337–363.

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