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dc.contributor.authorDix, Joshua Aaron
dc.description.abstractTrust is the universal human force that ties individuals together and interweaves them into groups, communities, and nations. When trust breaks down, these ties unravel, and conflict is likely, as the agency necessary to peacefully solve complex collective action problems is absent. Within the intrastate conflict literature, trust is often left out—that is, it is often assumed that the existence of conflict implies the absence of trust. This assumption may be faulty on multiple levels, because in the first instance what it does not do is consider why there is an absence of trust, and ultimately it conflates two different concepts–one being distrust and the other being a deficit in the ability to trust. The former concept, distrust, may be perfectly logical and based on a rational decision resulting from an adversary’s actions. The latter concept, a deficit in the ability to trust is very different, and that is the subject of this dissertation. Research in neuroscience suggests that the biological mechanism that enables trust depends on the neurohormone oxytocin. Building on research in the neuro- and nutrition sciences, this dissertation describes a set of environmental conditions that hinder the production of oxytocin (the trust hormone), and it argues that these conditions lead to biological trust deficits. A variable to measure these deficits has been created, and this variable is tested in the least likely circumstance for trust to exist: intrastate conflicts (civil wars). This dissertation offers three articles. In the first article, the trust deficit variable is created, the science behind it is explained, and it is tested on existing trust data. In the second article, the trust deficit variable is tested on intrastate conflict onset and duration. In the third article, the variable is tested on intrastate conflict recurrence. The results indicate that countries scoring high on the trust deficit variable are more likely to have longer intrastate conflicts and experience intrastate conflict recurrence. It can be concluded from these results that an improvement in environment and nutrition will result in lower trust deficits and a lower likelihood of intrastate conflict.
dc.rightsOn Campus Only Until 2017-05-01
dc.subjectCivil wars
dc.titleA matter of minds
dc.title.alternativeenvironments, trust, and civil war
dc.description.departmentInternational Affairs
dc.description.majorPolitical Science & International Affairs
dc.description.advisorJeffrey Berejikian
dc.description.committeeJeffrey Berejikian
dc.description.committeeAndrew Owsiak
dc.description.committeeLoch Johnson
dc.description.committeeAlex Anderson

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