Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


International Center for Studies in Creativity


Susan Keller-Mathers, Ed.D., Associate Professor

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First Reader

Susan Keller-Mathers, Ed.D., Associate Professor


Conflict is neuro-physiologically processed by emotional faculties of the human
brain, similarly to pain processing (Lack & Bogacz, 2012). Pain causes an "away-reflex", and so does conflict. Most of us, therefore, try to avoid pain and likewise conflict. Some of us are drawn into conflict, either as an active party or a referee, against our will, while others of us must handle conflict as a matter of life role. Because of this away-reflex to conflict, we often try to resolve conflict in a single step in order to "get it over with" as quickly as possible. Many people expect to resolve a conflict in a single intervention (Elliott, d'Estrée & Kaufman, 2003). When that doesn't work, our emotional response is amplified, typically including frustration, anger, and withdrawal. This project aims to provide a toolset that transitions a user's handling of conflict from their emotional faculties to their logical faculties, overcoming the away-reflex. It also provides a visual representation of the conflict, which allows a conflict manager to logically plot and manage a multi-step resolution process with improved potential for long term results over the get-it-over-quickly single-step reflex. And, it comprises an open framework to which an expanding number of resources can be added to bolster a conflict manager's understanding of all parties' concerns, personalities, motivations, fears, and to enable the conflict manager to generate new ideas using Creative Problem Solving, and increase influence and persuasiveness.