The SCARF model: Our brains seek out pleasure and strive to avoid pain
Understanding David Rock’s SCARF model can help us reduce conflict. Understanding that the brain seeks pleasure and strives to avoid pain helps us become aware of the triggers that can lead to conflict. If we don’t take these elements into account we often trigger the fight response and conflict results.
Neuroscience and conflict are linked. The SCARF model shows us how.
Status Our relative importance to others. Acknowledging status, expertise and how we fit in encourages engagement. Ignoring status can lead to a fight or flight reaction.
Certainty Being able to predict the future. Uncertainty about what will happens leads to fear and a defensive reaction.
Autonomy A sense of control over events. Feeling we have a choice and what we do matters. When we feel there is no choice we become resentful or defensive.
Relatedness A sense of connection. Feeling we belong to the tribe/group. When we feel ostracised we disengaged.
Fairness Perception of fair exchange. When we feel something is unfair we often seek justice. Fairness is ingrained within us and can help build a relationship or destroy it.
The SCARF model helps us understand our brains under conflict using Neuroscience research
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