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Purpose – Acknowledging that the field of neuroscience is expanding rapidly and the implication of recent neuroscientific advances on the study of…
Purpose – Acknowledging that the field of neuroscience is expanding rapidly and the implication of recent neuroscientific advances on the study of politics is equally vast, this chapter will focus primarily on three key areas of convergence that have influenced the direction of neuropolitics: first, decision-making (emotions, preferences, and voting behavior); second, research on in-group/out-group relations, such as coalitional groupings and discrimination and prejudice; and, third, the rise of neuroeconomics.
Approach – This chapter is concerned with the intersection of political science and neuroscience and discusses how recent technological and theoretical developments in the latter are greatly contributing to the field of neuropolitics.
Findings – The insights generated by neuroscience permit the study of politics to be anchored on a scientific foundation for the first time. In turn, this opens the door to a renaissance in the political psychology subfield of political science, as the scientific origins of political behavior are revealed.
Research implications – The ongoing revolution in neuroscience is producing insights into international political behavior that is largely unacknowledged by political scientists.
Value – The implications for domestic and international policy are major. Fundamentally, this is because neuroscience allows us to comprehend better the origins of human political behavior.
Purpose – Conflict models in international relations, particularly foreign policy decision-making models, have relied extensively upon the logic and explanatory power of…
Purpose – Conflict models in international relations, particularly foreign policy decision-making models, have relied extensively upon the logic and explanatory power of rational choice theories. These models suggest that actors select a strategy, or foreign policy, that will maximize expected utility given the information available at the time and the beliefs about the state of the international system. However, prospect theory has shown us that context during conflict matters and evolutionary theory, supported by biopolitical science, has revealed how individual characteristics, and human nature in general, influence the decision-making process. Through these approaches, we can begin to understand that a comprehensive model of foreign policy analysis (FPA) requires an examination of how human behavioral traits are affected by different conflict scenarios, such as a context of ambiguity and risk as opposed to one of certainty.
Approach – Drawing from recent neuroscience findings and taking a life sciences approach, this chapter seeks to challenge the rational choice theories of FPA by constructing a model of international conflict inclusive of a neural theory of decision-making.
Findings – With a model founded on an evolutionary analysis and a neural theory of decision-making, we can begin to better understand not only the causes of war and deterrence failures, but also the frequency and intensity of genocide and ethnic conflict in the international system.
Originality/value – Recent advances and technological breakthroughs in the fields of behavioral genetics and social neuroscience have revealed a plethora of new information valuable to the study of international conflict that shed light on brain-behavior processes within different decision-making contexts.
Political science is often derided for being a “soft” science, one unable to generate hard predictions about political behavior, or without the ability to test its…
Political science is often derided for being a “soft” science, one unable to generate hard predictions about political behavior, or without the ability to test its hypotheses, unlike physics, biology, or, among the social sciences, economics. Standards of hypothesis testing, data collection, and testing were unfairly seen to be lacking in comparison with the hard sciences. Accordingly, political scientists often had to struggle to have the knowledge produced about political behavior taken seriously. It would not be too remiss to identify an inferiority complex among political scientists, when they discussed the pantheon of scientific disciplines and their low position in it.
Purpose – This chapter introduces the volume to the reader and provides a simple case study of the value of evolutionary theory for public policy.
Design/methodology/approach – The scope of this chapter is to lay out a map of the rest of the volume for the reader, provide an explanation of the subject of biopolicy, and use a case study analysis to illustrate the approach adopted in this book.
Findings – While this chapter is at one level a simple introduction, at another level it tries to orient to reader to the remainder of the larger work. The one case study illustrates an approach using evolutionary theory to examine policy implications of knowledge from the life sciences.