The Department of Government
The Department of Government

International Relations Workshop- Katherine Sawyer (SUNY Stonybrook)

Biophysiological Risk-factors for Political Violence

Wed, April 10, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Abstract: Why do individuals engage in violence against the state?  This research investigates the biological and environmental determinants of individual-level participation in political violence through the use of a Candidate Gene Association (CGA), gene-by-environment, study.  Existing research has demonstrated that variation in the gene MAO-A is associated with physical aggression, particularly in response to environmental stressors.  This study argues that individuals with the low MAO-A variant, when exposed to conditions of political repression, are more likely to commit acts of political violence. Through original genetic data collection of both participants and non-participants of political violence, coupled with a survey instrument designed to measure the extent of non-genetic, individual-level motives for participation in violent rebellion, this study investigates how genetic variation may impact participation in political violence.

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