Deborah Larson draws upon historical, psychological, and political evidence to understand foreign policy decision-making.
Her professorship in the Department is supported by the International Studies and Overseas Programs administration at UCLA. Professor Larson’s first book, Origins of Containment (Princeton), traces the development of Cold War belief systems by studying postwar U.S. policymakers from a cognitive psychological perspective. Anatomy of Mistrust (Cornell) considers game theory, exchange theory, and bargaining theory to explain how mistrust prevented the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from reaching agreements in the early Cold War. She is currently developing a framework for evaluating the quality of political judgments in the profoundly uncertain international environment. Professor Larson teaches a graduate seminar on the making of American foreign policy, and offers undergraduates lectures on foreign policy and peace and war. She serves on the editorial boards of International Studies Quarterly and International Interactions.