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Department of Psychology


Eolene has a background in adult and child counselling, policy research, and government. Her inter-disciplinary (psychology and theology) PhD thesis at the Divinity Faculty focused on personal change through conflict and she formed the ‘ID-Group’ (Inter-Disciplinary Group, with two other doctoral students), which was awarded CRASSH funding. After completing her doctorate, she was involved in developing a proto-type IC intervention as a Research Associate in the Psychology and Religion Research Group (PRRG), University of Cambridge, invited to design and teach an inter-disciplinary course in the School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, and developed a week long IC intervention delivered annually over eight years at Ripon College Cuddesdon, University of Oxford. She has been directing research projects for over a decade. 

Eolene is Co-Founder, Co-Director of IC Thinking (Cambridge) Ltd  YouTube: I SEE! Scotland 

Dr David Good is the PI to current IC Thinking research projects. 


My work is in the field of reducing and preventing social polarisations, sectarianisms, and violent extremisms through the development and empirical assessment of interoceptive ‘IC’ (integrative complexity; Suedfeld & Tetlock, 2014) interventions. Classified under the area of mental health promotion resources, IC interventions are designed for, and have been used in, a variety of international settings where efficacy testing has found statistically significant changes in IC, resilience, and empathy among diverse population groups (e.g., children and young people, professionals such as mediators, police, school and prison staff, community and youth workers, and those in other life situations). My IC intervention science research investigates causes and consequences of multi-dimensional changes in social, cognitive, and emotional competencies; strategies for promoting social, cognitive, and emotional protective factors against social polarisations, sectarianisms, and violent extremisms; and programmes and interventions that re-integrate those moving toward or away from polarisations, sectarianism, and violent extremisms. This research requires on-going feedback loops between research and practice through collaborative partnerships across disciplines and organisations as new research informs practice and applied practice in ever-changing environments generates further research questions. Research-practice feedback loops link with on-going policy development, for example, the international shift from the first wave of preventing violent extremisms through a criminal justice framework to a second wave partnership with public mental health promotion in a health framework (DeMarinis, 2018).In Phase 2 (2019-2021), is a pilot study of the Integrative Complexity (IC) Thinking course/intervention in Sweden, IC Sverige, designed for youth and young adult populations in non-clinical contexts. Phase 1 began in 2015 through partnerships withIDEDI/ Fryshuset, University of Umeå, and University of Uppsala to design IC Sverige, using participatory action and applied action research methods. Another project (2019-2020) iinvolves multi-disciplinary collaboration on the development of a multi-research methodology to define, assess, and monitor social polarisation in 13 municipalities across 7 European countries, to be followed by the development and testing of contextualised, targeted prevention strategies (Efus (European Forum for Urban Security) project BRIDGE: Building resilience to reduce polarisation and growing extremism, funded by the European Union Internal Security Fund – Police


Key publications: 

DeMarinis, V, Nordendahl, M, Arnetz, B, Arnetz, J, Sandlund, M, Näslund, U,  Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2018). Research Plan Report for the Pilot Study on Integrative Complexity (IC) Thinking in Sweden: a health promotion course/intervention for countering extremism for youth and young adults. Umeå University, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine. Umeå: Regional Ethics Committee 2018-report number 463-31.

Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2017). The vicious cycle of extremisms and polarisations (keynote). Published proceedings: Local Institutions against violent extremism II (LIASE 2): The rise of polarisation and radicalisation in Europe: Tackling all forms of violent extremism at the local level. European Forum for Urban Security 19th May 2017, Rimini, Italy.

Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2017). IC Thinkers are prepared for Digital Citizenship. Keynote address delivered March, 2017. Denmark Learning Festival, Copenhagen. Published proceedings. 

Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). IC Thinking: Critical thinking and media literacy. Keynote address delivered April, 2016, The Hague. Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, The Netherlands. Published proceedings. 

Boyd-MacMillan, E., Campbell, C., & Furey, A. (2016). An IC intervention for post-conflict Northern Ireland secondary schools. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 111-124. [hyperlink

Boyd-MacMillan, E., Andrews Fearon, P., Ptolomey, A., & Mathieson, L. (2016). I SEE! Scotland: Tackling sectarianism and promoting community psychosocial health. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 53-78. [hyperlink:]

Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). Increasing cognitive complexity and collaboration across communities: Being Muslim Being Scottish. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 79 -110. [hyperlink

Andrews Fearon, P. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). Complexity under stress: Integrative approaches to overdetermined vulnerabilities. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 11-31. [hyperlink:

Savage, S. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2010). Conflict in Relationships: Understand it, Overcome it, London: Lion Hudson, Plc.

Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2009). ‘Vision in the Eye of the Beholder: Translation or Transformation?’ N. van Deusen (Ed.) Dreams and Visions, The Netherlands: Brill Publications.

Boyd-MacMillan, E., Savage, S., & Liht, J. (2008). Transforming Conflict: Conflict Transformation Amongst Senior Church Leaders with Different Theological Stances, York: FCL Press.

Hampson, P. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2008) ‘Turning the Telescope Around: Reciprocity in Psychology-Theology Dialogue’ in Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 30, 93-113.

Boyd-MacMillan, E., (2006) Transformation: James Loder, Mystical Spirituality, and James Hillman, Oxford: PeterLang, AG.

Teaching and Supervisions


PBS7: Topic 6 Extremism, Social Polarisation and their Consequences

Operationalising integrative complexity to reduce destructive polarisations and extremist violence and promote public mental health

Research supervision: 

Other Professional Activities

Member of the EU RAN (Radicalisation Awareness Network) pool of experts. Currently researching and co-writing with Prof Valerie De Marinis (University of Umeå, University of Uppsala, and Innlandet Hospital Trust, Norway), the ex-ante and ex-poste papers for the May 29th2019 policy and practice event in Paris, A mental health approach to understanding and preventing violent extremism


Senior Research Associate
Co-director of IC Thinking
Dr Eolene Boyd-McMillan
Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Conflict preparation/ transformation
Public mental health promotion
Polarisations, sectarianism, extremisms
Applied participatory research
Social Neuroscience
Embodied cognition
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy