Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Rose McDermott

David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations


Rose McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She received her Ph.D.(Political Science) and M.A. (Experimental Social Psychology) from Stanford University and has taught at Cornell, UCSB  and Harvard.   She has held numerous fellowships, including the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University. She was also a fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. She is the author of three books, a co-editor of two additional volumes, and author of over ninety academic articles across a wide variety of disciplines encompassing topics such as experimentation, emotion and decision making, and the biological and genetic bases of political behavior. 


I am currently conducting embedded experiments on attitudes toward gender equality in several different countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Uganda, Indonesia, Mongolia and India.  I am completing a book comparing intelligence successes and failures involving four matched historical cases including Barbarossa, Yom Kippur and Pearl Harbor. I have numerous other on-going research projects involving topics including divorce, leadership, the psychology of revenge, the effect of medical illness on presidential decision-making, the effect of emotion on decision-making, and the genetic underpinnings of aggression. I have also recently conducted a series of experiments on the effect of race on attitudes toward protest and policing. I have additional projects involving cyber security, suicide in the military, and pandemic disease.  I also continue work related to the effect of biology on political attitudes, preferences and behavior. 


McDermott, Rose, Tingley, Dustin & Hatemi, Peter K. (forthcoming).Vocal and

Olfactory Cues Predict Attraction to Ideologically Similar Potential Mates.   American Journal of Political Science

McDermott, R. (forthcoming). The Body Doesn’t Lie: A Somatic Approach to the study of emotion in World Politics.  For R. Bleiker and E. Hutchison (Eds.) International Theory

McDermott, Rose (2014)  Data Archiving and Research Transparency for Experiments.  PSPolitical Science & Politics, 47 (1): 67-71

McDermott, R & Hatemi, P.  (2014).  Political Ecology.  Advances in Political Psychology (Howard Lavine, Ed.)  Wiley-Blackwell.

McDermott, R. (Forthcoming).  Gender and Violence. International Organization

McDermott, R., Fowler, J. & Christakis, N. (2013) Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Except

When Everyone Else is Doing it too: The Spread of Divorce over 32 years in a large social network.  Social Forces 92(2), 491-519

Hatemi, Peter, McDermott, Rose, Eaves, Lindon, Kendler, Ken & Neale, Michael. (2013). Fear as a Disposition and an Emotional State: A Genetic and Environmental Approach to Out-Group Political Preferences.  American Journal of Political Science 

Peter K. Hatemi,  Sarah E. Medland, Robert Klemmensen, Sven Oskarrson, Levente Littvay, 

Chris Dawes, Brad Verhulst, Rose McDermott, Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard , Casey Klofstad, Kaare Christensen, Magnus Johannesson, Margaret J. Wright, Grant W. Montgomery, Lindon J. Eaves,  Nicholas G. Martin (2013).   Genetic Influences on Political Ideologies: Genome-Wide Findings on Three Populations, and a Mega-Twin Analysis of 19 Measures of Political Ideologies from Five Western Democracies.  Behavior Genetics


POLS 1821P Political Psychology of International Relations

POLS 1823G Women and War

POLS 2294 Women and Politics

News|Recent News

Rose McDermott and Valerie M. Hudson: Don't legalize polygamy

August 24, 2015 The Providence Journal

Rose McDermott, professor of political science, co-wrote an op-ed against the legalization of polygamy in the United States. "Polygamy is neither new nor rare. It is practiced in many cultures around the world," adding that if legalized it would undermine the stability of society and deeply harm women and children.


The Surprising Brain Differences Between Democrats and Republicans (Rose McDermott cited)

August 20, 2015 Mother Jones

In Mother Jones, "...in the American Journal of Political Science, a team of researchers including Peter Hatemi of Penn State University and Rose McDermott of Brown University studied the relationship between our deep-seated tendencies to experience fear—tendencies that vary from person to person, partly for reasons that seem rooted in our genes—and our political beliefs."