Twenty years later, the cognitive portrait of openness to reconciliation in Rwanda

With this work, we intended to draw a cognitive portrait of openness to reconciliation. No study had yet examined the potential contribution of high-level cognitive functioning, in addition to psychological health, to explaining attitudes towards reconciliation in societies exposed to major trauma such as post-genocide Rwanda. We measured the contribution of general cognitive capacity, analytical thinking, and subjective judgements.



Our results show that higher cognitive capacity is not associated with greater openness to reconciliation. On the other hand, proneness to think analytically about the genocide predicts more favorable attitudes towards reconciliation. The latter effect is associated with more tempered judgements about retrospective facts (e.g., number of genocide perpetrators) and prospective events (e.g., risk of genocide reoccurrence). This work establishes the importance of cognitive functioning in the aftermath of political violence: A better understanding of the influence of information processing on openness to reconciliation may help improve reconciliation policies and contribute to reducing risks of conflict reoccurrence.

Serge Caparos, Sara-Valérie Giroux, Eugène Rutembesa, EmmanuelHabimana, Isabelle Blanchette | 2022
In: British Journal of Psychology ; ISSN: 2044-8295 | 109 | 2 | 362-385
Cognitive Processes, Genocide (en), Mental health, Reconciliation, Research, Rwanda, Rwandans