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College of Arts & Sciences
Jewish Studies Program

Ranan Kuperman Lecture II

Friday, March 6, 2009 -
1:00pm to 2:30pm

"How Norms of International Relations Influence policy adjustments: 
An Experimental Study with the Aid of an Interactive Dynamic Simulator of a Protracted International Conflict"

Ranan Kuperman
School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa


This research compares the learning curves of two groups of subjects engaged in a protracted conflict against a virtual actor within a computerized simulated environment that operates according to a set of predetermined rules. The first group was required to choose between different policies, such as mobilization of forces, opening fire, sending a threat or signing an agreement. Although the subjects could not know in advance how the virtual opponent would respond to their policy choices, because the opponent was programmed to respond in a consistent manner, they could learn from experience and eventually optimize their policy choices. The second group played against a virtual opponent that was programmed to behave in an identical manner to the virtual opponent of the first group and produce identical payoffs. Thus, also in this case the subjects had the capability to discover the optimal policy on the basis of the exact same experiences. However, instead of each policy being labeled with a substantial meaning, policies were categorized in a formal manner as policies A, B, C, etc. The question was therefore if adding a meaning to each policy rather than a formal label, had an effect on the ability of the subjects to learn from experience.


Place: Close/Hipp Building (BA) 855


[Sponsored by Jewish Studies and Walker Institute of International and Area Studies]

PDF icon Kuperman Lecture Flyer II