Hidden Barriers to Conflict Resolution

Prerequisite: None

New brain research is revealing the forces at work beneath consciousness that impedes conflict resolution. According to the studies, our brains are hard-wired to argue, seek revenge, and impede rational decision-making. They cause people to take excessive risks, to reject proposals that are in their best interests, and to reinforce their erroneous assumptions despite compelling contrary data. This workshop is a fascinating look at brain science and the challenge of overcoming human nature.


Course Agenda

Brain science and links to conflict resolution

Stages of negotiation and mediation – cognitive barriers and strategies

  1. Setting the stage – Priming
  2. Gathering information
    • Partisan perceptions
  3. Identifying issues and interests
    • Anchoring
    • Loss aversion
  4. Generating, considering options
    • Impact bias
    • Reactive devaluation
    • Routine thinking


About the Instructor

Jeannette P. Twomey, JD

Jeannette Twomey, J.D., is an experienced mediator, consultant, facilitator, and trainer in the field of conflict management and resolution. She has provided alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services since 1992, focusing on workplace, family, and elder issues. Ms. Twomey has provided training and facilitation to private organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the U.S. Department of Interior, etc. She has been a leader in the dispute resolution field, serving on governing boards of both local and state ADR organizations. She is a Mentor Mediator for the Virginia’s Mediator Certification Program and an appointed member of the Advisory Council for the Virginia Supreme Court’s Division of Dispute Resolution Services. She was instrumental in designing the mediation program for Arlington County’s General District Court. Ms. Twomey served as President of Northern Virginia Mediation Service from 1996-1999 and was named the organization’s “Mediator of the Year” in 1994. She is a member of the Virginia Mediation Network, the Association for Conflict Resolution, and the Virginia Bar. She was an adjunct professor, teaching negotiation and mediation, at the American University’s Washington College of Law.