The mental landscape of lives in conflict: policy implications

Mareike Schomerus

Type: Briefing Paper

Date: 31/03/2021

Full summary

The concept of the ‘mental landscape’ describes the many factors that shape how a person makes sense of events and decisions in life. In this landscape, memories and narratives of incidents and history form the basis of how everyday life is interpreted. Individual emotions, feelings, beliefs, cognitions, as well as the experience of success and disappointment, intermingle with community experiences.


The mental landscape also influences decisions and behaviour, highlighting that both are shaped by context. For policy-makers and practitioners, the concept of the mental landscape offers opportunity to:


  • utilise insights from perception surveys for programmes that address the cause of the perception
  • integrate a new area of investigation for better programme context assessments
  • realign expectations between programmes and their constituents.