When thinking about conflict, the lock-in effect controls our reactions and responses.
We become accustomed to the reactions and responses that we have integrated into our lives on a regular basis. And the people to whom we are responding become locked-in to their responses and reactions to us as well.
Lock-in comes about when the benefits from a decision accrue at scale and the downsides are irrelevant.
Lock-in can be intentional (trying to use the other party’s known conflict responses and reactions to leverage them into or out of a decision), or it can be unintentional (“I don’t understand why he/she keeps reacting this way.”)
Some people are immune to the effects of lock-in, but many more people are controlled by the power of lock-in so much so, that they don’t even realize that it’s happening at the time.
Once a person’s conflict behavior and conflict choices are revealed to them, lock-in can become a powerful deterrent to future poor choices.
But only if we are aware of its presence.