Surprising insights into “sacred values,” and what they mean for negotiation. A recent study in the journal for Judgment and Decision Making assessed how the Iranian nuclear defense program has become a sacred value and how this affects negotiation over Iranian disarmament, an issue of growing global concern. Just last month Iran defied the United Nations in beginning to enrich its uranium supply to bolster its nuclear program. The recent study on this topic by Morteza Dehghani and colleagues, offers two key insights. It demonstrates how a relatively recent issue, one that—unlike abortion—lacks any longstanding historical or religious significance, can become sacred. And it suggests, surprisingly, that offering material incentives in exchange for sacred values may backfire badly. The work is a reminder that sacred values are tremendously influential in disputes both international and interpersonal, but that our negotiating instincts can lead us away from common ground.
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Morteza Dehghani's work includes psychology experiments have turned out to have implications for negotiations involving Iran's nuclear program. Morteza received his Ph.D. in CS from NU in 2010.