The Evolutionary Origins of PTSD and Moral Injury: Evidence from a Small Scale Society

february, 2018

26feb12:00 pm1:30 pmThe Evolutionary Origins of PTSD and Moral Injury: Evidence from a Small Scale Society

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Matthew Zefferman, Arizona State University

Combat veterans in western industrialized societies can develop a collection of symptoms classified as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The origins of PTSD are a mystery. Some posit that it has deep evolutionary roots as a mechanism for avoiding and responding to harm. Others posit that it is socially constructed and perhaps unique to industrialized societies. I propose, with a gene-culture co-evolutionary theory of combat stress, that both perspectives are partially right and incomplete. This theory explains additional puzzling aspects of combat stress, such as the origins of “moral injury.” I support this new theory with evidence from ethnographic research and interviews with Turkana warriors from northern Kenya.

Monday, February 26, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Los Angeles, CA, Haines Hall 352, UCLA

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(Monday) 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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