CAMPSSAH Colloquium photo Narine Yegiyan

Event Date


Narine Yegiyan

Associate Professor, Communication

Identity Threat as a Defensive Motivational Response: Understanding the Livelihood of the Armenian Minority in Georgia

It has been well-established that people's behavior is modulated by two neurobiological motivational systems: the appetitive and aversive. The magnitude and direction of the activation of these systems depend on the imminence and intensity of encountered threats or opportunities. The appetitive system encourages steady exploration and learning, while the aversive system initiates defensive behaviors associated with the fight-or-flight response. In this presentation, I will argue that the social concept of identity threat can be understood within the framework of psychobiological motivational theory as a defensive motivational response. I will then describe a variety of behavioral outcomes that can be expected in reaction to this response. Finally, I will share the results of my in-depth interviews with the Armenian minority population in the Republic of Georgia, which illustrate evidence for these theoretical propositions. I look forward to feedback from those working with these issues and am excited about the opportunity to share some of my initial work.

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