Psychology of Conflict and Communication

Psychology of Conflict and Communication is a survey course covering the intersection of psychology, law, conflict, and dispute resolution with application to human communication. This course explores psychological phenomena, the frameworks for analyzing conflict that results from these phenomena, as well as conflict resolution communication skills to address these phenomena. This course is designed to provide insights from areas of cognitive and social psychology, neuro-collaboration, and communication theory and apply those insights to dispute resolution and negotiations.

Topics addressed in this course include paradigms for the sources of conflict; escalation and de-escalation theory; the physiology of conflict; managing personalities in conflict resolution, both “regular” and “high-conflict” personalities; emotional intelligence competencies and conflict resolution; exposure to the canon of personality instruments, including MBTI and TKI; the myth of rationality and decision-making; cognitive biases; neuropsychology including empathy, mirror neurons, and memory; trust and altruism; persuasion, rhetoric, dialogue, narrative paradigm, and linguistics; power, threat, and face-saving; and anger and the limits of argumentation and rationality.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Develop and demonstrate a deep understanding of the psychology of conflict communication and its intersection with dispute resolution and lawyering through participation in role playing, simulations, and other skills-based learning exercises.
  • Assess professional obligations, in part, by preparing simulation response papers in which students explore reflective professionalism, which includes fostering self-awareness, exploring a paradigm for giving and receiving feedback, and developing a language for critique of their own professional performance.
  • Appraise their own approach to conflict, and improve their ability as a problem solver and human being to resolve conflicts through participation in skill-based learning exercises and preparation of simulation response and research papers.
  • Identify personality styles, choose appropriate intervention techniques, and maintain ethical principles while dealing with difficult people professionally and personally through participation in skill-based learning exercises and preparation of simulation response and research papers. Students will identify conflicts in communication, analyze and evaluate the communication competency of conflict participants, and analyze communication theories.