The psychology of genocide topic for 2013 Hugo Valentin Lecture

19 March 2013

How does mass violence arise? What is the psychology behind it? This year’s Hugo Valentin Lecture is titled “Perpetrators, Passive and Active Bystanders in Mass Violence” and will be given 27 March by Professor of Psychology Ervin Staub.

Professor Ervin Staub from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst is a specialist in the psychology of violence and conflict. He will lecture on how mass violence and genocide usually start in critical social conditions and certain cultural contexts. He will also discuss the dynamics of violence and the emergence of both perpetrators and passive bystanders, but also individuals he calls active bystanders, who resist violence or endanger themselves to save the lives of others.

Of central interest to Ervin Staub are the psychological factors causing “good” and “bad” behaviour in children towards their surroundings, subsequent altruistic or destructive and violent actions, and the possibilities of intervention, psychological recovery and reconciliation after violent conflicts.

The Hugo Valentin Lecture 2013
Professor Ervin Staub: Perpetrators, Passive and Active Bystanders in Mass Violence
Wednesday 27 March at 17.00
The University Main Building, Lecture hall X

Introduction by Eva Åkesson, Vice-Chancellor of Uppsala University and Tomislav Dulić, Director of the Hugo Valentin Centre.


The Hugo Valentin Centre is an inter-disciplinary forum at Uppsala University with research as its prime task. Research is carried out within two prioritized areas: on the one hand cultural and social phenomena and processes of change related to the ethnic dimension in human life, on the other hand the Holocaust and other cases of genocide and severe crimes against human rights. To these subject fields belong minority studies and Holocaust and genocide studies as well as related and adjacent subjects where the Centre has a marked specialisation. Culture, language, history and religion are natural points of departure for the Centre’s work. The Centre is named after the Swedish historian Hugo Valentin (1888–1963), scholar and educator at Uppsala University.