Scholars and practitioners working with protracted conflicts in polarized communities have long recognized the complex dynamics between intragroup disputes and intergroup relations in these settings. In fact, the multitude of factors interacting within and between groups in these conflicts, and their tendency to change over time, largely contributes to their intractable natures. Unfortunately, the ability of scholars to conduct research on such dynamic phenomena has been largely constrained by the atomistic, linear approach of traditional research models and methods. However, recent advances in dynamical systems theory have provided a new set of tools for developing computer simulations that allow us to model the dynamic patterns emerging from complex interactions of multiple variables over time. This paper presents one such model: a dynamical model of protracted intergroup conflict. Using data collected from Israeli and Palestinian communities during the current Intifada, we modeled the dynamic relations between conflict escalation and international intervention on intragroup subgroup attitude clustering and patterns of intergroup interactions. Next steps and refinements for the model are discussed.

Author Bio(s)

Douglass S. Adams graduated from West Point in 1980, serving in command and staff positions in intelligence, operations, and force development, before retiring as an LTC in 2000. He received an MS from the Defense Intelligence College and a JD from George Mason University, where he is also completing a PhD in Public Policy. In addition, he is a director of WH Shipman, Ltd., a kamaaina land development company in Keaau, Hawaii. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, an Army colonel who commands the Seattle Engineer District, US Army Corps of Engineers. He can be reached at DougSAdams@aol.com.

Peter T. Coleman holds a PhD and M.Phil. in social/organizational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in communications from The University of Iowa. He is currently assistant professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University and teaches courses in conflict resolution, social psychology, and research. Dr. Coleman is director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College, Columbia University, an innovative Center dedicated to advancing the study and practice of conflict resolution. He has conducted research on social entitivity processes (ingroup/outgroup formation), the mediation of inter-ethnic conflict, intractable conflict, complexity, and on the conditions and processes which foster the constructive use of social power. In 2003, he became the first recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. Dr. Coleman co-edited The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2000), published by Jossey- Bass, and has also authored over forty journal articles and chapters. He can be reached at pc84@columbia.edu.

Caty James Everett is a PhD student in social and organizational psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College. She received her BA from Harvard University in 1999, graduating magna cum laude in psychology with special emphasis on group dynamics and intergroup relations. She holds a graduate Fellowship from the United States Government's Department of Homeland Security. With several years' experience in management and leadership positions in both the public and private sectors, she now serves as an executive coach and independent consultant to organizations on issues involving interpersonal communication, leadership, and high-performing teams. She can be reached at cj2101@columbia.edu.

Timothy A. Gameros is a major in the U. S. Air Force and is currently on assignment at the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio. He can be reached at t_gameros@yahoo.com.

Lee Hammons is an operations coordinator in the collider-accelerator Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His work and research interests have spanned a broad range of areas including music, perception, accelerator and high-energy physics, and scientific policy issues. He can be reached at hammons_lee@hotmail.com.

Cecil C. Orji holds a MS in engineering management from Northeastern University and a BS in applied mathematics and statistics from The State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is currently a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Mclean Virginia, where he works on the modeling, simulation and analysis team. He can be reached at corji@spa.com.

Adam Schneider earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Houston and a MA in security studies from Georgetown University. His research interests include pattern recognition using fuzzy systems and artificial neural networks and applying complex models to social, political, and information systems. He is a former submarine officer and operations research analyst in the military and homeland security fields. He is currently serving as a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. government and manages NewsAndAnalysis.org, which seeks to combat bias, sensationalism, and poor analysis prevalent in the media. He can be reached at aschneider@gate.net.

Ralph M. Waugh received his PhD in personality, developmental, and social psychology in December 2002 from The University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation was nominated as one of the best dissertations at The University of Texas at Austin in 2002. His research interests involve the nonlinear dynamics of interpersonal interactions in important relationships. He has presented several papers to the annual conferences of the American Psychological Society, The Society of Chaos Theory and the Life Sciences, and the North American Society for Psychotherapy Research. Currently, he is a member of the Plexus Institute's Complexity Sciences and Clinical Practice International Network. He is developing nonlinear dynamical simulation models with respect to interpersonal interactions. He can be reached at waugh@mail.utexas.edu.

Richard Wicker is a retired naval officer working for Systems Planning and Analysis in Alexandria, Virginia. He specializes in modeling and simulation of long range counter terrorism efforts on a global scale for the U.S. Navy. His current work also includes the development of metrics to study the success of U.S. Navy efforts in counter terrorism across the complete spectrum from direct action to humanitarian assistance/civil affairs. He was also a senior member of the NATO Joint Analysis Team in Bosnia Herzigovina. His degrees include a BS in nuclear physics, an MBA in financial management, and he is currently in pursuit of a PhD in operations analysis at George Mason University. He can be reached at rwicker@spa.com.


computer simulations, dynamical systems theory, intergroup relations, Intifada, intragroup disputes, Israeli and Palestinian communities, protracted intergroup conflict

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