Dr. Emile Bruneau is a social and cognitive scientist who heads the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously he was a research affiliate with the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT. Dr. Bruneau’s research aims to better understand the psychological and cognitive biases that drive intergroup conflict, and critically examining the impact of interventions aimed at decreasing intergroup hostility. Specifically, he explores the (lack of) empathy and dehumanization that often characterize intergroup conflicts, and how empathy and humanity can potentially be restored through virtual and media-based encounters with “the other.”
Dr. Bruneau’s research has been inspired by his experiences traveling, working and living in conflict regions including: South Africa during the transition from apartheid to democracy; Sri Lanka during its civil war; Ireland during "The Troubles"; and Israel/Palestine soon after the Second Intifada. Dr. Bruneau’s work on empathic failures and the Roma minority population was featured in the New York Times Magazine, and his work on neuroimaging and dehumanization has been covered by a number of media outlets, from the BBC to Scientific American. In 2015, Dr. Bruneau won a Bok Center Award for teaching at Harvard, and was honored with the Ed Cairns Early Career Award in Peace Psychology. His work has received funding from the UN, US Institute for Peace, Soros Foundation, DARPA, ONR, and DRAPER Laboratories.