VIRTUAL: Enemies and Institutions: Five Survey Experiments on the Vividness Effect and Democratic Threat Perception


Location: Zoom Meeting

Readahead Material – TBD

Madison Schramm is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovative Approaches to Grand Strategy at the International Security Center at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining the International Security Center, she was the Hillary Rodham Clinton Research Fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. She received her PhD from Georgetown University in Government (2019).

Her research focuses on international security, the domestic politics of foreign policy, political psychology, and gender and foreign policy. Her book project explores the dynamics that intensify conflict between democracies and personalist regimes. Much of the recent political science scholarship has been devoted to explaining why democracies don’t go to war with one another, but there is still relatively little work on the particular dynamics that mark the relationship between democratic governments and autocratic regimes. Her project illustrates that while countries ruled by personalist dictators are two to three times more likely to be targeted by democracies, they are no more likely to be targeted by other autocratic regimes. This suggests that there is something that predisposes democracies to oppose personalism more actively than other forms of authoritarian rule. This project builds on work in political science, psychology, and sociology using archival research, survey experiments, and statistical analysis. The proposed explanation emphasizes the role of social identity theory and cognitive biases in shaping democratic elites’ threat perception. 

She has previously worked with the Council on Foreign Relations; the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Yale University’s Political Violence FieldLab; and the RAND Corporation. 

Originally published at