Research Themes

The central focus of our research is the identification and analysis of barriers to international and intergroup conflict resolution, and the development of strategies to overcome these barriers.  Our research has explored the psychological, strategic, institutional and relational barriers to resolving the most intractable conflicts.

Joint SCICN/CISAC Initiative on International Conflict Resolution

As an interdisciplinary center, a critical element of our research is collaboration with scholars around the university.  Together with the Center on International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford, we co-sponsor a special initiative on international conflict resoution.

This collaboration includes bringing the CISAC and SCICN communityies together for a series of seminars that deal explicitly with international conflict resolution, negotiation, and peacebuilding.  For more information, see our upcoming events or click here for the initiative main page.

Current Research Themes

The central role that intergroup and even interpersonal relationships play in the dynamics of conflict and conflict resolution — hence the importance of developing techniques for fruitful dialogue and the building of political partnerships.
Shifting the focus from the give and take of immediately ongoing negotiations to the problem of developing scenarios for a mutually satisfactory (or at least a mutually bearable) "shared future."
The need to focus concretely not only on the negotiation process between political leaderships and elites, but also on the way proposed agreements and their implementation, or lack of agreement and/or implementation, impacts the lives of the affected individuals, their families, and their communities.
The interplay between intra-group conflict and inter-group conflict, and the special problem of "spoilers" with a range of motivations that lead them to create impediments to conflict resolution.
Barriers to agreement that arise from loss aversion, and the role of framing both the status quo and prospective changes in the status quo in facilitating agreement.
The importance of perceptions of procedural and distributive justice (and injustice) and the problem of creating agreements that necessarily deny justice to at least some of the principle parties.
The extent to which legal norms can contribute to, or impede, conflict resolution.