Brown study links individual aggression to attitudes on foreign policy

The study’s results show an interesting link between high scores.
The study’s results show an interesting link between high scores. | File photo

A recent study published in Aggressive Behavior suggests that individual tendencies toward physical aggression, which is genetically influenced, may relate to individual attitudes on moral issues, such as a more aggressive foreign policy.

“We wanted to explore the relationship between individual tendencies to engage in physical aggression in interpersonal situations and attitudes toward larger foreign policy issues and broader moral choices,” Brown University's Rose McDermott, a study co-author, said.

The study’s results show an interesting link between high scores on a scale that measures aggression and a person’s likelihood to support aggressive foreign policy and “a more utilitarian moral calculus,” as the study authors put it.

“Behaviors once thought to be purely social, such as morality, political values and economic decisions, are now known to result from the combination and interaction of genes and environments,” McDermott wrote.

The study also noted that while individual differences in levels of physical aggression in men could be tracked to both genetic and environmental factors, in women those differences were solely related to social and environmental factors.

Organizations in this story


Brown University 75 Waterman St Providence, RI - 02912

Get notified the next time we write about Brown University!