Monday, October 08, 2007

How Do You Bargain, When Your Bargaining Space is Empty?

Sacred bounds on rational resolution of violent political conflict

Jeremy Ginges, Scott Atran, Douglas Medin & Khalil Shikaki
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 18, 7357-7360

We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli
participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues
considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to
compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises
over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique
properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that
the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of
political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat
contested issues as sacred values.

(Nod to KL)

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