Author Biography

Dr. Eolene Boyd-MacMillan is Senior Research Associate and Co-Director of the IC Thinking Group, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. Dr. Claire Campbell is a Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of Ulster, with interests in intergroup relations and social cognition. Dr. Andrea Furey is a Lecturer in Psychology, University of Ulster; a social psychologist, her interests are in identity, prejudice, segregation, and intergroup contact.



Subject Area Keywords

Civil affairs, Civil war and internal conflict, Identity, Methodology, National security, Peace studies, Psychology, Religious violence


Without carefully planned, sustained resourcing of children and young people, post-conflict Northern Ireland (NI) may fail to flourish. In May, 2016, MI5 (the UK domestic security agency) increased the security threat level from moderate to substantial for NI related terrorism. For over two years we have been partnership building in post-conflict NI to produce a plan for developing an evidence-based integrative complexity resource for NI secondary schools. Integrative complexity interventions have been shown effective at increasing capacities in a range of contexts, on different conflicts and extremisms, with diverse population samples (evaluated using the cross-culturally validated integrative complexity measurement frame). Based on over forty years of research,[1] integrative complexity measures assess how we think about our social world, from rapid, inflexible, closed thinking toward more deliberate, flexible, open thinking about our own and opposed groups. The latter predicts more peaceful outcomes to conflict. This research plan has the most rigorous and systematic empirical design to date, to advance the theory and method of integrative complexity science in partnership with end-users for promoting capacities to live well with difference and disagreement. The findings will benefit NI and other post-conflict regions struggling to overcome legacies of violence.

[1] Peter Suedfeld and Philip E. Tetlock, “Integrative complexity at forty: Steps toward resolving the scoring dilemma,” Political Psychology 35 (2014): 597-601.


With thanks to anonymous reviewers at the University of Ulster, University of Cambridge, and Journal of Strategic Security for insightful comments and feedback, and to the numerous educationalists in Northern Ireland who have given generously of their time and expertise.