What We Do

The Conflict Research Lab focuses on social psychological phenomena related to conflict. Specifically, the CRL conducts experimental research on conflict, aggressive and prosocial behaviors, media effects, identity conflicts, and intergroup relations. Much of our work examines how people communicate, think, and interact in conflict situations at the interpersonal or intergroup level. We are motivated by the desire to advance social psychological theory related to this wide range of processes, but also to conduct research with practical implications, especially for majority-minority relations within the United States. We approach these issues from a social cognition perspective, but also one that emphasizes the importance of measuring actual behavior in the course of investigating human nature.

Intergroup Bias and Conflict: Dr. Saleem has  examined the effects of media stereotypes within violent contexts on perceptions, attitudes, and affect towards the depicted group (Saleem & Anderson, 2013). Other work has explored how media depictions of Muslims as violent can influence aggressive perceptions and support for aggressive public policies against Muslims internationally and domestically (Saleem et al., 2014).

Identity Conflict and Intergroup Relations: In another line of research, Dr. Saleem examines the role of perceived identity compatibility specific to dual-identity individuals (e.g., Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans) and its influence on majority-minority relations within the United States (Saleem, Prot, & Anderson, 2011). This work is focused on understanding to what extent perceptions of identity incompatibility (e.g., Muslim and American identities are incompatible) influence dual identity individuals’ (e.g., Muslim-Americans) identification attachment, and loyalty to each of their two identities. In an ongoing longitudinal study, Dr. Saleem and her team are exploring the effects of discrimination, media stereotypes, and acculturation on Muslim-American youths’ national and religious identities and intergroup relations.

Interpersonal Conflict: Within the interpersonal conflict domain, Dr. Saleem has done research testing the effects of person and situational variables on aggressive and prosocial cognitions, affect, and behaviors (e.g., Saleem, Anderson, & Gentile, 2012). In addition, this research looks at the interactive effect of person variables (e.g., trait aggression) and situational variables (e.g., media violence) on individuals’ aggression. Other work involves understanding the influence of reciprocal trust in interpersonal conflict as examined by two-person social dilemma games (Juvina, Saleem, Gonzalez, & Lebiere, 2013).