Fear and learning in Tehran

what recent psychological research reveals about nuclear crises

Michael D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent psychological research has shown that experiencing fear, if people believe they have some control over the source of the fear, reduces their tolerance for risk. Leaders who experience fear of imminent nuclear war thereafter tend to reject these risky policies. Indeed, experiencing the fear of imminent nuclear war will cause leaders to avoid calculated and uncalculated risks. While the US should work toward a comprehensive solution with Iran, using force would be not only risky, but also counterproductive. If Iran developed the bomb, the use of force would be much less likely to succeed than the simplest policy of all: allowing Iranian political leaders to stop this behavior on their own.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-138
Number of pages20
JournalStrategic studies quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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