2 Items

A volunteer in a contemporary reconstruction of the WWI battle of Verdun.

(AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Bad World: The Negativity Bias in International Politics

| Winter 2018/19

Negative phenomena more strongly influence leaders’ judgments and decisionmaking
than do positive phenomena. This so-called negativity bias helps explain state behavior that contributes to the security dilemma, threat inflation, and the persistence of war.

Members of the United Nations Security Council attend a meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 25, 2003. A U.S-backed resolution declaring that Iraq missed its chance to peacefully disarm set the stage for a heated battle in the Security Council.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Rubicon Theory of War: How the Path to Conflict Reaches the Point of No Return

| Summer 2011

The Rubicon theory of war explains how leaders grappling with the possibility of war may experience a sudden shift in mentality from deliberation to implementation, decreasing the chance of a peaceful resolution.  Experimental psychology has demonstrated that the act of making a decision can bring about a state of overconfidence, irrational optimism, and closed-mindedness, limiting rational thought and the ability to compromise.  If leaders make this psychological shift before war has become inevitable, narrower vision and lack of deliberation may contribute to the outbreak of war.