Tag Archives: pete
John Paul Sartre once said, “We are our choices.” Social scientist Dr. Pete Hatemi proved just how true that is on Feb. 26 in Riley 201.
Hatemi has worked in countries, such as Australia, Hungary, Sweden and Denmark, along with the United States, to prove what kinds of socialization impact the way our lives turn out.
“How do our families’ different views on religion and politics affect how we see things and the decisions we make?” Hatemi asked the audience.
Hatemi and his team have worked with people of both genders to prove how the way these people were raised played an impact on the decisions they made in politics, how they viewed images and their relationships.
“The biggest differences we found were in that of the left wing versus the right wing and liberals versus conservatives,” Hatemi said.
And that’s what one of his biggest research projects, which was printed in the Journal of Theoretical Politics, was based around. Hatemi and his team brought in men and women of both the conservative and liberal parties, varying in lifestyles and ages.
They used gauze pads to soak up a person’s smell in order to rate the attractiveness of the opposite and same political party, without the participants knowing who each smell belonged to. The end result: conservatives found other conservatives’ smells most attractive and were neutral of liberals’ smells. Liberals were neutral of other liberals but found the smells of the conservative participants most offensive.
One anecdote that Hatemi remembers in particular was when, at the end of the study, a female liberal asked to take the vial of the smell home, the smell of someone with the same ideology, because it was the best scent she’d ever smelled. Immediately following her, a conservative female told him that she thought the scent had gone rancid and she wanted to vomit after smelling it.
Hatemi has done other research to prove this point, and it resonated with those in attendance.
Junior Brea Riberio said she thinks the kind of work he is doing is great because it helps make more sense of our society and what causes our differences and how people can move past them.
“But if I did learn one thing in particular,” Riberio concluded, “It’s that I’m going to marry someone with similar liberal views as myself and he’s going to smell really good to me.”
Sara Miller/For the Review
Sara Miller can be reached at
Linfield College hosted Pete Hatemi, professor of political science, microbiology and bio-chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, to lead a series of lectures attempting to connect the political science discipline to that of the natural sciences. The first of these lectures was about the neurobiology of political violence, held Feb. 25 in T.J. Day Hall.
When talking about the variety of research results that were available for public viewing, there were several themes that took shape. The general topics looked at were why many Middle Eastern countries have people who turn to extreme violence as the only solution. The team relied heavily on biology to solve these issues. Some of the main biological reasons that are believed to cause these extreme emotions are centered in hormones, the limbic system and genetics.
Hatemi mentioned that much of the world shares more in common at a genetic level than one would suspect. This caused some people in the audience to speculate about violence in other parts of the world.
Most of his recent work has been with the Defense Department. Hatemi is part of a group of researchers who look at how political violence takes root. Much of the research has been connected to how emotions play into acts of terrorism in the Middle East, especially Bengazi as of the last months.
The research Hatemi is taking part in with violence is just beginning. He commented that the team has many more years to go before it is near completion. This field of study is new and underfunded. While there is still much work to be done, one conclusion that can be drawn from the lecture is that violence is in some way encoded into who we are as people, and if someone is drawn to extreme violence, there is little that can be done to change them.
Hatemi’s lecture displayed that there is much opportunity for interdisciplinary study in research. By combining the fields of science, psychology and politics, scholars are able to gain a bigger picture of topics such as violence.
“What brought me on this path had a lot to do with my time in the service. It [the army] is a huge social experiment,” Hatemi said when asked why he became interested in such an obscure topic.
Not only is Hatemi a professor at Penn. State, he also works with universities around the world. He has worked at the Virginia Commonwealth University in the U.S., the Institut for Statskundskab at Syddansk Universitet in Denmark, the University of Sidney and Queensland Institute of Medial Research in Australia.
Recently, Hatemi was awarded the Erik Erikson Early Career Award. This award honors people in the academic community who have received their Ph.D in the last decade and is a leader in the political psychology field. Much of Hatemi’s work focuses on social psychology and its interactions with politics.
The nature of his work has left much of it to be classified and a great deal of it will never be published. He commented that this has made it hard because of academic requirement that his college has in publishing work, but his is still proud of what he does.
“Your work is very interesting and interdisciplinary with a big I,” said Patrick Cottrell, assistant professor of political science, highlighting its importance as the lecture’s closing statement.
Julian Adoff/Multimedia editor
Julian Adoff can be reached at