History of Peace Psychology

William's speech at Stanford University is frequently seen as the starting point for peace psychology. Ahead of the outbreak of World War I, James expressed his view that the pursuit of violent conflict fulfils a fundamental need for qualities like loyalty, regulation, obedience, group cohesion, and duty. He also noticed that people feel more pride in themselves when they are pleased with the organization in which they participate, if that organization is the army or some other kind.

What is Peace Psychology?

Peace Psychology makes violence less likely to happen and assists in combat its psychological consequences; the research of mind and behaviour that cause violence stops terrorism and enables peacefulness, and promotes justice, tolerance, and decency for everyone.

Chronology & Development in Peace Psychology

Ancient World

Ancient prophets warned that conflict breeds unwholesome social standards, including exploiting the weak, selfishness, deceit, and worshipping many deities. They urged individuals to develop moral practices that are not just global but also focus on fairness to build peace and its practice—in contrast, dedication to one heavenly deity and helping the vulnerable. Greek philosopher & scientist Pythagoras was indeed a strong proponent of fostering harmony. He consistently considered peace, concord, and compassion essential for self-improvement and socially appropriate behaviour. Pythagoras discussed the fairness of all creatures and the progression of humanity toward transcendent, reasoning, and personality. He opposed animal slaughter for the sake of meeting human requirements.


The English philosopher, lawyer, and social activist Bentham advocated for physiological foundations to underpin civil law and public order. The name he invented, "utilitarianism," describes his theory that humans are motivated primarily by a desire for happiness and aversion to misery and that morally obligatory offers the most significant potential for happiness. These ideas, which are still relevant today, were published in his book "Plan for a Universal as well as Permanent Peace." Efforts to promote equality should go beyond established divisions of race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The benefits of commerce exceed the costs of war in terms of lives lost and political prosperity. Hence both sides must engage in it. We need an international framework and a permanent world body. There should be restrictions on how militaries and navies operate since they, more often than not, cause conflict rather than avoid it. Deception in foreign policy is a crucial cause of conflict, and aspirations for foreign territory and dominating other territories enhance the chance for disagreements, frequently leading to war.

Brentano, the other extreme, was a clergyman, psychotherapist, and thinker from Germany. In his view, achieving world peace should be one of cognitive science's primary goals, and he actively pursued this goal. He rejected the methods of modern medical and psychological psychologists in favour of those who studied the mind and problems.


War prevention has been a central focus of academic study and practical application throughout the modern period. This includes reducing interpersonal and systemic aggression and strengthening peace via activities like patrolling, peacebuilding, and reconciliation. As a result, peace psychologists started to take shape as a distinct discipline branch started to take shape as a distinct branch of the discipline. William James pioneered peace psychology and philosophy in the United States. In his 1911 article "The Ethical Cost of War," William James defined six facets of the phenomena of "nationalistic," the willingness of individuals to unify around a banner: gratification from connectedness to a ton of people, " which means an intent from fighting, an outlet for personality or ego, increased cohesiveness because of external danger, the inclusion of admirable traits like restraint, courageousness, as well as personality, and the disappearance of unpredictability due to the rise of war outrage.

Development under World War 1

The Austrian physician and founder of psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud. Freud's therapy profession inevitably leads him to discuss political and societal concerns and topics like conflict and peace. Published throughout World War I, his works include "Opinions for the Ages on Conflict and Death," "Culture itself And Internal contradictions," as well as "Why War?" He has written on the mental factors that contribute to antiwar sentiment and the institutional influences that serve to tame the killing drive and erect temporary peace. In 1931, Freud developed educational strategies for easing mental tensions at Einstein's urging. War's motivations, as well as causes, are more nuanced than whether or not authority must be concentrated or whether or not social classifications must be restricted.

Society of Peace Study

It debuted in 1991 as a response to rising tensions between the United Nations and the Soviet Union over their respective arms races. A percentage of task forces were established by the split, as well as those tasked with providing aid to children and their families affected by war, fostering harmony between different cultural groups, stopping the flow of weapons, and establishing norms for the peaceful interaction of army and civilian civilizations. The section also publishes the results of its harmony research. Employees of the divisions are given training emphasizing peaceful conflict resolution and providing opportunities to practice such techniques.

The breadth of peace psychology broadened after the end of the Cold War to include issues like different types of violence, the welfare of humans, and the possibility of global extinction.


Consequently, modern peace psychology focuses on understanding the root causes of aggression, prejudice, and other sorts of discrimination but then assessing the efficacy of methods that foster peaceful behaviour and equality and mutual respect between individuals. The practice of peace psychiatry has gone international. It acknowledges that ideas could be used to justify both individual acts of violence and systemic forms of oppression, establishing specific norms for the violence. Individuals are wounded or killed swiftly and spectacularly by engaging in violence. However, institutional oppression is pervasive and murders far more by stopping people from meeting their basic needs. When individuals go hungry despite enough nourishment for all, this is an instance of systemic atrocities done by the supply system.

Updated on: 14-Mar-2023


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