Reactive devaluation is a psychological bias that affects the support for a proposal offered by an antagonist in negotiations. Previous work identified reactive devaluation in the context of the Cold War (Stillinger, et al., 1990) and the Israel-Palestinian conflict (Maoz, et al., 2002). Both studies identified the tendency of respondents to negatively evaluate proposals based on antagonistic authorship; however, both studies were conducted in the context of a high threat/low trust situation. Without a variance in the psychological context, it becomes difficult to isolate the causal mechanisms which trigger reactive devaluation. We improve upon this literature by testing the phenomenon of reactive devaluation in the context of the Iranian nuclear deal (perceived to be a low threat situation by respondents), and explore the impact of trust and fear upon the tendency of respondents to reactively devalue the terms of the proposal. We fin d that threat level affects the willingness to accept a peace proposal and that reactive devaluation continues to operate even in the absence of an existential threat. However, contrary to theoretical expectations, threat level or trust in the antagonist does not indirectly condition the effect of reactive devaluation in a significant manner.
Millard, Matt and Porter, Chase
"Testing the Hard Case: The Psychological Roots of Reactive Devaluation and the Iranian Nuclear Deal,"
Journal of Political Science: Vol. 46
, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.coastal.edu/jops/vol46/iss1/5
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