Visiting Scholars

David Reinhard

Dr. David Reinhard has joined the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program in the fall of 2017 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation awarded to Bernhard Leidner. David received his Ph.D. (2017) and M.A. (2014) in Social Psychology from the University of Virginia. Prior, he received his B.A. in Psychology (with High Honors) from the University of Michigan in 2010. He also worked as a lab manager in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. In his primary line of research, he examines how shared competitive (and cooperative) histories influence the way people think about and pursue their goals. He examines competitive histories in intergroup and interpersonal conflicts (by contrasting rivalry from mere competition) and cooperative histories in intragroup alliances (by examining temporal group identities). In another line of work, he examines how people can use their thoughts and attentional focus to change the intensity of emotional events.

In the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, David examines the consequences of past collective trauma on intergroup relations in the present. He has also started investigating how rivalries can increase conflict escalation between nations, and begun to review and integrate the literature on intractable conflicts with research on the social-cognitive processes underlying rivalries. For this new work on intergroup rivalries, he has just received a grant from the Society of Social and Personality Psychology (SPSP). In the future, he further plans to examine the consequences of highlighting connections between past and present generations of a group for alliance building and cooperation.

Dr. David Reinhard's CV
Personal website: www.david-reinhard.com
Lab website: https://people.umass.edu/bleidner/

Özden Melis Ulug

With a BSc major in Psychology and a BA minor in Studies in Politics from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, Melis received her MSc degree in Political Psychology with distinction from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland in 2011 and her PhD degree in Psychology from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany in 2016. She focused on the socially shared conflict understandings among different segments of society (e.g., politicians, scholars and journalists, and lay people) in the context of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. She has also conducted follow-up studies in order to understand the role of intergroup contact in different status groups on conflict understandings and peace-related outcomes, such as attitudes toward reconciliation and peace.


In addition to intergroup conflict, reconciliation and peace, her research interests also include collective action and solidarity between disadvantaged groups. Melis has recently conducted both qualitative and quantitative studies on protestors’ motivations and their solidarity experiences in the context of Gezi Park protests in 2013 in Turkey. She expects to conduct more research on how disadvantaged groups such as women and Blacks experience contact with the advantaged groups in the context of protests and activism in the US.

Hanne Watkins

Hanne M. Watkins holds a BA (Hons.) in Psychology and Linguistics, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Melbourne, in Australia. She also completed her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Melbourne, in 2016. Her main research interests are moral psychology, intergroup conflict, and philosophical “just war theory,” which is why her thesis was on how people make moral judgments about killing in war.

However, moral psychology is a broad church, and for the past two years (2016 – 2018) she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UPenn working with Geoff Goodwin on a project involving people who are exceptionally commitment to various environmental causes. Many of these “environmental exemplars” express a moral obligation to care for the natural environment and for future generations of humans. Through in depth interviews we attempted to unpack this sense of obligation, as well as explore how it relates to the environmentalists’ sense of connection to nature and to other people, and to their optimism (or pessimism) about the future of the planet.

As part of the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program at UMass, Hanne will continue to research both environmental and moral psychology, focusing first on how people conceptualize war and peace – Are the two concepts antonyms? Do they include moral content, good or bad? Are wars inevitably associated with environmental destruction as well as with the destruction of human life? – and the consequences these conceptualizations have for outcomes such as willingness to support specific peace building initiatives, engagement with veteran community groups, and the likelihood of joining the military.

Hanne's webpage