The sense of diversity and its psychological implications

We analyse humans' relationship with diversity in its negative (violence, indifference, fear, hate,
resentment, envy) and positive connotations (interest, empathy, compassion) with special reference
to cross-cultural relations and to human-animal relations. We have adopted a broad definition of
diversity whereby "the diverse" is fundamentally constituted by "the other", the non-ego. It thus
follows that diversity is a fundamental category in the understanding of human experience. We
especially focus on socio-cultural, emotional and cognitive processes characterizing humans’
relationship with diversity.
Though the study of cross-cultural relations and the study of human-animal relations represent two
distinct research areas, it has now become possible to identify some significant intersection points
regarding the analysis of some specific cognitive and emotional aspects of these relations, such as
the role of fear, of hate, of power, of contact, of knowledge, of trust, and of empathy.
We also analyse the role of education in fostering youth’s more positive attitudes and behaviors
regarding their relations with their culturally diverse conspecifics, with individuals belonging to
different species, and with the rest of the planet in general.

Project Funding: 
Project Timeframe: 
31 Dec 2009 to 30 Dec 2013



Francesco Robustelli

Frank R. Ascione (University of Denver)