Hatemi, Peter K. and Rose McDermott. (2011) A Neurobiological Approach to Foreign Policy Analysis: Identifying Individual Differences in Political Violence. Foreign Policy Analysis, doi: 10.1111/j.1743-8594.2011.00150.x

A great deal of foreign policy analysis relies on social and environmental factors, or anecdotal evidence. In seeking to address this problem in a more systematic manner, we move from an investigation centered around state actors to one focused on variation in individual behavior account for the combination of social, cultural, environmental, psychological, and biological differences. Our proposed approach to the study of political violence requires the integration of methods and skills from geneticists and neuroscientists with those in the behavioral and social sciences. Specifically, we seek to introduce an approach to study political violence which : (i) quantifies the effects of genes, environments, and their interaction on behavior; (ii) identifies specific genetic and environmental contexts that lead to such behavior; (iii) develops a comprehensive model of the biological and social pathways to political violence; (iv) identifies populations under specific circumstances which pose a higher or lower prevalence for any specific genes, neurobiological or environmental mechanisms which pose an increased liability for political violence; (v) develops mechanisms to identify individuals within given populations who are most at risk for committing violence, as well as those most resistant to such action; and (vi) creates environmental responses which can mitigate risk among those individuals.