chapter  12
31 Pages

A Behavioral Science Perspective on the Study of War and Peace

WithHerbert C. Kelman

This chapter provides a broad sketch of the meaning, history, and status of a behavioral science approach to the study of war and peace. The basic assumption of a behavioral science approach is that war and peace are forms of human behavior that can be analyzed and understood in terms of the general principles used to study behavior in its various shapes and contexts. A behavioral science perspective has been the backbone of the peace research movement and the peace research movement, in turn, has provided much of the motivating force behind the behavioral study of war and peace. Traditional theories offer certain propositions about the behavior of nation states and the conditions conducive to war and peace. They are based on a particular conception of the international system, of the forces that account for states of war or peace within it, and of the conditions under which it changes.