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The Violence Paradox

Is violence actually declining? If so, why? And can we build a more peaceful future?

Premiered: Runtime: 1:53:22Topic: Body + BrainBody & BrainNova

Despite the constant news of violence, from mass shootings to wars, psychologist Steven Pinker believes we may be living in one of the most peaceful periods in human existence. Could it be true that physical violence has been in decline for centuries? And can it be prevented—or is it simply part of human nature? NOVA takes you on a journey through history and the human mind to explore what triggers violence and how it may have decreased over time. Taking clues from a Kenyan archaeology site, modern laboratory experiments, and even literature, researchers trace the social and neurobiological roots of human violence. They look at how forces like income equality and personal contact may curb violence in modern societies. And in places like Baltimore, where violence “interrupters” treat violence like a contagious disease, NOVA examines evidence-based approaches to making the world more peaceful. (Premiered November 20, 2019)

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Major funding for “The Violence Paradox” is provided by the Arsenault Family Foundation, and Nancy and Al Jubitz.

Additional funding from the Estate of Gwenn Therrien, the Chino Cienega Foundation, and the George D. Smith Fund.

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust.