The Simulation Research Advantage
The chief advantage of using simulations, as is the case with other experimental approaches, lies in the ability of researchers to control the environment by isolating extraneous factors. Simply put, it allows the researcher to look at the effects of a particular factor by comparing the results of those who were exposed to that factor with those who were unexposed. That is, it allows the researcher to establish causal relationships where direct observation of the environment does not allow for such control. It is this latter quality that accounts for the increasing use of experimental approaches and simulation in social science research designs.
Research Projects Supported
Some of the research areas that have been explored through recent ICONS simulations include:
- US-China crisis decision making in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula
- counter-Da'esh influence operations including examination of biopsychosocially-informed tactics
- the impact of social media on corporate crisis decision making
- how decision-maker cognitive complexity influences the choice of options in conflict and crisis
- the impact of mediator style on negotiation outcomes
- the choice of appropriate deterrence strategies in gray zone conflict in Eastern Europe
These research projects have involved political scientists, historians, journalists, neuroscientists, linguists, criminologists, and psychologists, as well as a wide group of researchers and analysts from the policy and think tank communities. A variety of supporting methodologies, including social network analysis, survey research, and content analysis have been employed by researchers using ICONSnet in studying communications patterns in negotiation.