Physiology, Identity and Behaviour: A Neuropolitical Perspective

Project Details


This transformative study explores the relationship between expressed or stated identities, 'what we say', and revealed or observed responses to identity triggers, 'what we do'. Hormonal testing and fMRI brain imaging are used to provide new insights into old questions about the nature of identity and its effects on public attitudes and behaviours.

The study begins from the starting point that identity matters. Political symbols play an important role in encouraging mass arousal and quiescence. The recent riots over the flying of the Union flag in Belfast highlight the potency of identity triggers. The role that identity will play in the forthcoming referenda in Scotland and Catalonia is heavily debated. The question of identity is also central to the ongoing debate about UK membership of the European Union. However, identity is complex and is not easily captured in standard surveys which ask, for example, how 'Scottish', 'Portuguese', 'Bavarian' or European an individual feels. Identity has an implicit as well as an explicit dimension. Using an innovative neuropolitics approach the project aims to enrich current understandings of identity and the role it plays in multi-level polities like the European Union.
Effective start/end date1/09/1328/02/15


  • ESRC: £250,160.00


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