Visiting professor’s lecture offers insight on revenge and violence

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Explaining whether revenge and violence are natural human responses is not an easy feat. Professor of psychology at University of Washington David Barash, combines psychology, evolutionary biology and peace studies to bring a rational explanation to these universal human behaviors.

Barash is coming to Pacific University to give a lecture on his newest books “Payback: why we retaliate”, “Redirect Aggression” and “Seek Revenge”. The Center for Peace and Spirituality and Psi Chi Club have funded Barash’s visit.

The lecture will focus on psychological reasons that humans fight violence with more violence, but Barash focuses on a wide variety of subjects from sexuality to peace and conflict studies. The lecture and discussion will be aimed at a general audience. Students interested in biology, psychology, and peace and social justice studies are encouraged to go, along with the general public.

According to Barash’s website, his focus is “understanding the underlying evolutionary factors influencing human behavior.”

Barash has published several books and contributed a large amount of research to the field. His textbook Peace and Conflict Studies is widely used. Barash “crosses the disciplines of peace studies and evolutionary psychology,” said David Boersema, professor of philosophy at Pacific.

Boersema met Barash in 2003 at a Peace Studies conference and the two remained in contact. Psi Chi Club contacted Boersema in order to get Barash to give the lecture. It will be Barash’s second time visiting Pacific University, after his first in 2003.

The event will be held in McCready Auditorium on April 25th at 7pm. It is free to students and the general public. Afterward there will be a book signing in the lobby, outside the auditorium.


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