Ryan K Beasley, Senior Lecturer


Ryan Beasley received his PhD in Political Science from The Ohio State University. He joined the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews in 2011. Previously he was Associate Professor at Baker University where he served as Department Chair and also as Director of the International Studies Program.  

In 2002 he worked in Geneva, Switzerland for two NGOs – the Small Arms Survey and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue – investigating the impact of small arms and light weapons on humanitarian relief workers and operations. He has received several teaching awards, including the Jennie Howell Kopke and Verda R Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Research areas

Ryan Beasley’s current research focus is in the areas of Foreign Policy Theory and Political Psychology. This research spans three somewhat distinct areas:

  • Cognitive Consistency Theories in Foreign Policy and International Relations.
  • Role Theory
  • Foreign Policies of Coalition Governments

Cognitive Consistency Theories and Foreign Policy

This research applies balance to understanding public perceptions of the legitimacy of actors and policies. He also examines risk and its relationship to cognitive dissonance and foreign policy mistakes.  His current research is on the Psychology of Maintaining Meaning in International Relations, and on the Nature of Role Dissonance.

Role Theory

This research examines the way in which states become socialised into particular roles within the international system, and how these roles affect states’ behaviours.  The primary empirical domain is Scottish Independence, and future work will examine role transformations and sovereignty in relation to Brexit.

Foreign Policies of Coalition Governments

This research uses statistical analysis of event data to examine how the institutional structure of governments influences their foreign policy behaviors. In particular, he is interested in the consequences of having multiple parties governing together on the types of foreign and security policies that are pursued.


Published books

  • Beasley, R. K., Kaarbo, J., Lantis, J. S., & Snarr, M. T. (Eds.). (2012). Foreign policy in comparative perspective: domestic and international influences on state behavior. SAGE.


  • Oppermann, K, Beasley, R, and Kaarbo, J. (2019). British Foreign Policy after Brexit: Losing Europe and finding a Role. International Relations
  • Beasley, Ryan K and Kaarbo, J. (2017). Casting for a Sovereign Role: Socialising an Aspirant State in the Scottish Independence Referendum. European Journal of International Relations.
  • Beasley, Ryan K (2016). Dissonance and Decision Making Mistakes in the Age of Risk. Journal of European Public Policy, 23(5), 771-787.
  • Crandall, C, Owen Cox, Ryan K Beasley, and Mariya Omilecheva. (2016). Covert Operations, Wars, Detainee Destinations and the Psychology of Democratic Peace. Journal of Conflict Resolution.
  • Oktay, Sibel and Ryan K Beasley. (2016). Quantitative Approaches in Coalition Foreign Policy: Scope, Content, Process. European Political Science.
  • Beasley, R. K., and Kaarbo, J. (2014). Explaining Extremity in the Foreign Policies of Parliamentary Democracies. International Studies Quarterly 58(4), 729.
  • Kaarbo, J. and Beasley, R. K. (2008). Taking It to the Extreme: The Effect of Coalition Cabinets on Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy Analysis, 4(1), 67.
  • Beasley, R. K., Kaarbo, J., Hermann, C. F., and Hermann, M. G. (2001). People and Processes in Foreign Policymaking: Insights from Comparative Case Studies. International Studies Review, 3 (2), 217.
  • Beasley, R., and Joslyn, M. (2001). Cognitive dissonance and post-decision attitude change in six presidential elections. Political Psychology, 22(3), 521-540.
  • Kaarbo, J., and Beasley, R. (1999). A practical guide to the comparative case study method in political psychology. Political Psychology, 20(2), 369-391. 

Book chapters

  • Beasley, Ryan K, Juliet Kaarbo, & Hannah Solomon-Strauss. (2016). To Be or Not To Be a State: Role Contestation in the Debate over Scottish Independence in Domestic Role Contestation, Foreign Policy, and International Relations, edited by Cristian Cantir and Juliet Kaarbo, Routledge Publishers.
  • Juliet Kaarbo, Jeffrey S. Lantis, & Ryan K. Beasley. (2012). The Analysis of Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective, in Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective: Domestic and International Influences on State Behavior (2nd Edition). Congressional Quarterly Press.
  • Beasley, Ryan K & Michael T. Snarr. (2012). Domestic and International Influences on Foreign Policy: A Comparative Perspective, in Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective: Domestic and International Influences on State Behavior (2nd Edition). Congressional Quarterly Press.
  • Crandall, C. S., & Beasley, R. K. (2001). Politics, Prejudice, Social Institutions, and Moral Value. The psychology of legitimacy: Emerging perspectives on ideology, justice, and intergroup relations, 77.
  • Kaarbo, J., & Beasley, R. K. (1998). A political perspective on minority influence and strategic group composition. In D. H. Gruenfeld, D. H. Gruenfeld (Eds.) , Composition (pp. 125-147). US: Elsevier Science/JAI Press.
  • Beasley, R. (1998). Collective interpretations: How problem representations aggregate in foreign policy groups. Problem Representation in Foreign Policy Decision Making, 80-115.



Modules include:

  • The Psychology of International Security
  • Honours Dissertation
  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Masters Dissertation

Teaching experience and interests in the following areas:

  • Comparative Foreign Policy
  • Foreign Policy Decision Making
  • Cognitive Dissonance and Decision Making
  • Research Methods and Design

Research students

  • Ameneh Mehvar-Blue
  • Olivier Lewis
  • Shairbek Dzhuraev

PhD supervision topics

Topics include:

  • Foreign and Security Policy
  • Decision Making
  • Role Theory
  • Political Psychology
  • Political Leadership
  • Cognitive Consistency.