The Cognitive Architecture of Hatred

The Cognitive Architecture of Hatred

Hatred has existed across cultures and throughout human history. It is often pointed to as a source of many social ills, including violence, oppression, indifference to suffering, dehumanization, and abusive or threatening speech. But what is hatred, and what sorts of behaviors might it motivate? After all, behavioral outcomes like violence, oppression, and abusive speech can result from a variety of motivations. What makes outcomes motivated by hatred different? If hatred is a distinct motivation, then a better understanding of its cognitive landscape, including its causes and consequences, is needed. A more comprehensive understanding of these causes and consequences will lead to more informed peacebuilding between individuals, populations, and nations. This project aims to elaborate both theoretically and empirically on the emotion of hate. In particular, we are interested in describing the evolved function of hatred as a cognitive motivational system.

  • We are currently working on a theoretical framework and collecting qualitative data on experiences of hatred and the dispositions people have towards those who the hate.

  • This project is in collaboration with Aaron Sell and Anthony Lopez

Poster from our seminar at the inception of this project

Coltan Scrivner
PhD Candidate

I research the evolution of social cognition and emotions