Sara Savage

Social psychologist and Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge

Dr. Sara Savage, a social psychologist, is Senior Research Associate at the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, and Director of Research for IC Thinking (Cambridge) Ltd.

Sara and the ICthinking® Research Team at Cambridge have developed interventions to address extremism, sectarianism, inter-ethnic and inter-group conflicts based on social neuroscience principles, operationalising Prof Peter Suedfeld’s construct of integrative complexity (IC). The aim is to enable young people in our globalised context to ‘see through’ the false binaries of extremisms and conflict, to engage with different viewpoints while maintaining their own important values, leading to behavioural change. Forty-nine IC interventions show a significant change using the non-fakable and predictive measure of integrative complexity, leveraged through experiential learning. Sara has over forty publications in her field.

IC interventions are effective at the sharp end among former extremists (Al Shabaab members in Kenya and ex-Taliban youth in Pakistan). However, the primary work of IC Thinking is in prevention and the promotion of social cohesion and personal flourishing. IC interventions are run in schools, colleges, prisons, communities and religious organisations. The IC model has been developed in range of contexts in England, Scotland, Kenya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Pakistan (Swat Valley), largely through government funding. We work in partnership with organisations such as the British Red Cross. All interventions are supported by continual empirical assessment and training.

Prior to being a research psychologist, Sara was a dancer and choreographer. The arts and media continue to inform this unique approach to transformational learning, which is seeking to move into video games-based learning and internet platforms.