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The Allure of Violence: Bridging Perception, Cognition, and Culture


Event Summary

Photo by Max Herman

Why are violent movies and novels so popular? Why does so much art portray acts of violence? Why is the news so frequently filled with violent and tragic information? Why is violence such a common aspect of many religions and rituals throughout the world? While violence is something we often seek to limit in society, it has an undeniable allure. Across cultures and throughout time, violence has been an integral part of human society. It has served as a common source of entertainment and central aspect of many social and religious rituals. This conference, sponsored by the Understanding the Meaning-Making of Violence project at the Neubauer Collegium, brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to discuss how and why violence so often captivates the human mind.


Paul Bloom (Brooks & Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology & Cognitive Science, Yale University)

Alan Fiske (Professor of Anthropology, UCLA)Yael Granot (Assistant Professor of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago)

Aliza Luft (Assistant Professor of Sociology, UCLA)

Andrei Pop (Associate Professor, Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago)

Harold Schechter (True crime writer and Professor of American Literature and Popular Culture, Queens College, CUNY)

Garland Martin Taylor (Sculptor and Independent Researcher)

Preethi Vaidyanathan (Eyegaze Hardware and Software Engineer, LC Technologies)

David Woolley (Professor of Instruction in Stage Combat, Department of Theatre, Columbia College Chicago)