What is it about?
International actors are human too. They are influenced by their psychology as much as their rationality. How can we leverage human psychology to encourage international cooperation? "Conditioning Constructs" is a theory of how hostile states can use the subconscious psychological benefits of negotiation to build a long-lasting peace. It traces the theory in action with the case of US-Canada relations.
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Why is it important?
Negotiations in international relations are not just cheap talk. They are spaces for human actors to "train" each other into cooperation. The process of putting a negotiated agreement into action makes cooperation increasingly rewarding and defection increasingly punishing, until the decision to work together is clear. By remembering that politicians are still psychological beings, we find that series of negotiations generate an ingrained, durable cooperation over time, and transform hostile relations into peaceful ones at a fundamental level.
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This page is a summary of: Conditioning Constructs: A Psychological Theory of International Negotiated Cooperation, International Negotiation, April 2021, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15718069-bja10025.
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