Do war commemorations influence support for solutions to conflict?

naval soldier plays trumpet in front of american flag

Hanne M. Watkins, postdoctoral research associate in the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, and her advisor Bernhard Leidner were recently awarded a research grant from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The grant will support their research on how war commemorations—for example, Memorial Day or Veterans Day—influence people's support for different types of solutions to geopolitical conflict. Previous research suggests that reminders of war and conflict can prompt people to adopt more militaristic attitudes towards other nations. However, in Watkins and Leidner's recent studies, war commemorations—perhaps because they focus mostly on sacrifice and suffering—instead lead people to prefer diplomacy and negotiation rather than the use of military force. This grant will allow the researchers to continue to explore this important possibility.