CLEAN Seminar - Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (University of Chicago)


The next CLEAN seminar will take place on Wednesday December 6 online at 4.00 pm Italian time.

The presenter will be Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (University of Chicago). The title of the paper is: "Ordinary Men: Inside one of the Largest Armed Organizations of the Congo".



This study investigates the paradox of humans engaging in collective violence, harming others while contributing to perceived membership goods like security. To address the challenge of observing individuals who participate in collective violence before they do, we built trust over nine years with a major armed organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and adapted and developed moral preference measures from moral psychology and psychophysiology. The organization, formed after 30 years of community violence, aimed to combat perceived foreign perpetrators. Four findings emerge: 1) Origin communities have large victimization, fear, anger, and moral preferences and justification for violence against the perpetrators. 2) Before joining, joiners are more prosocial to their community, equally prosocial to others, and more sadistic to perpetrators, yet they are just as likely to have psychopathy as their community members and as the average American. This selection pattern is induced by a weak positive correlation between altruism towards one's community and sadism towards the enemy. 3) A significant fraction joins with moral consequentialist motivations. 4) Seven months after joining, both anti-enemy sadism and origin community empathy increase. These findings offer a glimpse into selective "moral exclusion," challenging static and universal views of prosociality in violence. They highlight that the most violent individuals can be both more sadistic and more prosocial/morally motivated, with these motivations being malleable and jointly triggered in violent contexts.

You may follow the event online via Zoom Meetings at the following link: - Meeting ID: 834 8234 3354