CAHSS Faculty Articles

A Dynamical Tool to Study the Cultural Context of Conflict Escalation


0000-0002-9873-543X, 0000-0002-9780-9230, 0000-0001-5859-7100, 0000-0003-1703-1586



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Proceedings of the Modeling Intercultural Collaboration and Negotiation (MICON) Meeting

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The present article describes research in progress which is developing a simple, replicable methodology aimed at identifying the regularities and specificity of human behavior in conflict escalation and de-escalation processes. These research efforts will ultimately be used to study conflict dynamics across cultures. The experimental data collected through this methodology, together with case-studies, and aggregated, time-series macro data are key for identifying relevant parameters, systems' properties, and micromechanisms defining the behavior of naturally occurring conflict escalation and de-escalation dynamics. This, in turn, is critical for the development of realistic, empirically supported computational models. The article outlines the theoretical assumptions of Dynamical Systems Theory with regard to conflict dynamics, with an emphasis on the process of conflict escalation and de-escalation. Next, work on a methodology for the empirical study of escalation processes from a DST perspective is outlined. Specifically, the development of a progressive scenario methodology designed to map escalation sequences, together with an example of a preliminary study based on the proposed research paradigm, is presented. Implications of the approach for the study of culture are discussed.

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