The Neuropsychological Impact of Conflict: An Analysis of Implicit Prejudice among Victims, Ex-combatants and Communities in Colombia


  • Por: Juan Esteban Ugarriza
  • Páginas: 37
  • Publicación: 2018

Armed conflict impacts individuals at psychological level not only by causing illness, but also by affecting the mechanisms of information processing, opinion formation and decision-making. These effects negatively influence the effectiveness and durability of inter-group reconciliation approaches that ignore the protracted nature of biologicallydriven implicit biases. By means of a computer-based Implicit Association Test (IAT), we tested pre-cognitive inter-group prejudices of 251 war victims, former guerrillas and victims in Colombia. We find that while ex-guerrillas identify themselves with the victims, there is a systematic bias against former combatants among communities and even more so among war victims. These results show not only that these groups have fundamentally different understandings of their immediate past of violence, but also that these conceptions are neurologically-imprinted in their cognitive and emotional processing mechanisms. We conclude on the need to deal with the neuropsychological effects of war on people’s dispositions and perceptions in post-conflict societies.