Our research project focuses on grave, traumatic experiences of violence and stress. Such experiences do not only constitute a cognitive burden but also affect the functional self-organisation of humans thoroughly and change them dynamically. The experience of violence modifies our personality, our nature - it creates different persons. 

When burglars intrude into your house it does not only leave a memory but changes your behaviour: you will become more prudent, you will lock your house repeatedly and you may start pondering risky situations much more often. Much the same applies to persons who committed violence: they might become more peaceful in the wake of the terror they inflicted because they do not want to experience something similar again. Or they might even become more aggressive, having taken delight in their cruel deeds.

Thus executing violence is much more than a simple act - it will lead to a lasting change in the personality of the perpetrator as well as the victim. MemoTV wants to find out in how far this change in the person's nature also affects the functional organisation of the brain and the legibility of the genotype, maybe even throughout several generations. This 'transgenerational thesis' is daring but first studies show that traumatic experiences may be passed on to the next generation as epigenetic heritage. Accordingly, experiences of stress and violence may form epigenetic memory lasting for generations.

By getting to know how traumatic experiences effect the organism, future traumata may be treated much more effective. MemoTV wants to understand how to adjust those personality changes and how to enable criminal villains one day to again become peaceful members of civil society.

In order to achieve this goal, MemoTV will carry out field research in crisis regions where people endured a lot of harm and where a relatively fast change of generations takes place: e.g. child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; inhabitants of the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro as well as the townships in Kapstadt. We want to include parents, children and grandchildren in our research. Additionally we also want to research the epigenetic effects of domestic violence in Germany.