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Trusting EnemiesInterpersonal Relationships in International Conflict$
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Nicholas J. Wheeler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199696475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199696475.001.0001

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The Priority of Trust in Signal Interpretation

The Priority of Trust in Signal Interpretation

(p.100) 4 The Priority of Trust in Signal Interpretation
Trusting Enemies

Nicholas J. Wheeler

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers two theories that develop an alternative basis to trust for accurate signal interpretation. The two theories, both of which rely on the proposition that, if a signal can be made costly enough, this will communicate peaceful intent, are Charles Osgood’s GRIT policy and Andrew Kydd’s Reassurance Game. The former is a social-psychological approach, while the latter is a formal modelling approach. The chapter argues that neither has a convincing theory of how trust develops in adversarial contexts, and, as such, neither can explain how signals are interpreted accurately when these are sincerely aimed at communicating peaceful intent. For this, it is necessary to develop relationships of bonded trust and the mental state of trust as suspension that this makes possible.

Keywords:   trust, GRIT, costly signalling, signals, Reassurance Game, peaceful intent

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