I am Xunchao Zhang. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Political Science Department.
My primary interests is the political psychology of international conflict. My dissertation project focus on the situational causes of revenge motive and the strategic logic of revenge. In the dissertation, I argue that in international conflict, retaliation is often driven by the individual desire to inflict pain and suffering on one’s adversary rather than by any rational deterrence motive. In addition, standing firm and retaliating often have a counterproductive effect of creating a cycle of revenge that ends up undermining retaliator’s own security. I also study the role of leaders in foreign policy using a personal biographical approach. Methodologically, I focuses on the application of experimental and computational methods.