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Rezarta Bilali

Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Intervention

Applied Psychology

(212) 998-5155

Rezarta Bilali received her PhD in social psychology with a concentration in peace and violence from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her research focuses on the social psychological underpinnings of intergroup conflict and violence in various conflict settings (e.g., Albania, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Turkey, the U.S.). In one line of research, Dr. Bilali seeks to understand the influence of group identities on intergroup conflict, and the psychological underpinnings of conflict narratives, specifically focusing on group members' denial or acknowledgement of past collective violence, the factors that drive denial narratives, and strategies to address these narratives. In another line of research, she merges theory and practice by working with non-governmental organizations to develop and evaluate violence prevention and reconciliation media programs. The goal of this research is to generate knowledge that successfully informs practice and social policy on prevention of intergroup violence and promotion of positive intergroup relations. In order to achieve this goal, Dr. Bilali contextualizes her research in real world settings, uses multiple methodologies (e.g., experiments, surveys, interviews, content analysis of written materials), considers historical and structural variables, and engages practitioners in her work. Dr. Bilali’s research has been supported by numerous foundations including USAID, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, American Psychological Foundation, International Peace Research Association, Psychology Beyond Borders, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Bilali graduated with a BA in Psychology from Bogazici University, and a Masters’ degree in Conflict Resolution at Sabanci University, both in Istanbul. Prior to joining NYU, she worked as an Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Selected Publications

  • Bilali, R. (2022). Fighting violent extremism with narrative intervention. Evidence from a field experiment in West Africa. Psychological Science, 33(2), 184-195.
  • Storz, N.*, Bilali, R., Martinovic, B., Maloku, E., Rosler, N., & Žežel,j I. (2022). Collective victimhood and support for joint political decision-making in conflict regions: The role of shared territorial ownership perceptions. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52, 472-486.
  • Freel, S.H.*, & Bilali, R.  (2022). Putting the past into action: How historical narratives shape collective action participation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(1), 204-222.
  • Ulug, M., Bilali, R., Karasu, M., & Malo, L. (2021). Obstacles to reconciliation and forgiveness among victim groups of unacknowledged past trauma and genocide. European Journal of Social Psychology, 2, 313-325.
  • Freel, S.H.*, Bilali, R., & Godfrey, E. B. (2021). ‘We are the Resistance’: Predictors and consequences of self-categorization into the emerging movement to oppose Trump. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
  • Bilali, R., Godfrey, E. B., & Freel, S. H. (2020). How an election loss leads to a social movement: Reactions to the 2016 U.S. presidential election among liberals predict later collective action and social movement identification. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(1), 227-247.
  • Bilali, R., Iqbal, Y.*, & Freel, S. (2020). Understanding and counteracting genocide denial. In L. S. Newman (Ed.). Confronting humanity at its worst: Social psychological perspectives on genocide (pp. 284-311). Oxford University Press.
  • Bilali, R., Iqbal, Y.*, & Erisen, C. (2019). The role of lay beliefs about group-based transgressions in acknowledgment of responsibility for ingroup harm-doing. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49(5), 992-1006.
  • Bilali, R., & Vollhardt, J. R. (2019). Victim and perpetrator groups’ divergent perspectives on collective violence: Implications for attitudes toward political issues and intergroup relations. Advances in Political Psychology, 40(1), 75-108.
  • Bilali, R., Iqbal, Y., & Celik, A. B. (2018). The role of national identity, religious identity and intergroup contact on social exclusion across multiple social divides in Turkey. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 65, 73-85.
  • Bilali, R., Vollhardt, J. R., & Rarick, J. D. R. (2017). Modeling collective action through media to promote social change and positive intergroup relations in violent conflicts. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68, 200-211.
  • Bilali, R., & Vollhardt, J. R. (2015). Do mass media interventions effectively promote peace in contexts of ongoing violence? Evidence from Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Peace & Conflict. Journal of Peace Psychology, 21, 604-620.
  • Vollhardt, J. R., & Bilali, R. (2015). The role of inclusive and exclusive victim consciousness in predicting intergroup attitudes: Findings from Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC. Political Psychology, 36, 489-506.
  • Bilali, R., & Vollhardt, J. R. (2013). Priming effects of a reconciliation radio drama on historical perspective-taking in the aftermath of mass violence in Rwanda. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 144-151. 
  • Bilali, R. (2013). National narrative and social psychological influences in Turks’ denial of the mass killings of Armenians as genocide. Journal of Social Issues, 69, 16-33.


Psychology and Social Intervention

Prepare for a career as a social scientist, with strong quantitative training and exposure to interdisciplinary methods to examine setting-level phenomena.

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Human Development Research and Policy

The Human Development Research and Policy program prepares students to pursue careers as research project directors, research coordinators, and more.

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Advanced Seminar in Psychology and Social Intervention

As a core component of the training program, seminar provides students with experience in professional presentations of their work, exposes them to strong models of such presentations, and explores substantive, methodological, and professional issues not covered in classes. In addition to student presentations, there will be outside speakers, faculty presentations, discussions of pertinent journal article, and discussion of professional issues.
Course #
APSY-GE 2830
0 - 3
Applied Psychology

Intervention and Social Change

Examines theoretical frameworks, concepts, pragmatics, and strategies and tactics of intervention and social change at different levels of analysis. Students will learn about designing and implementing social interventions and, upon completion, will be able to analyze social issues/problems from multiple perspectives and vantage points.
Course #
APSY-GE 2826
Applied Psychology

Social Psychology

Social psychological concepts, theories, and research and their relation to educational problems.Concepts treated are attitudes, values, roles, norms, communication, conformity; areas emphasized are group processes and influence, social motivation, prejudice, authoritarianism.
Course #
APSY-GE 2003
Applied Psychology