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Perception and Misperception in International Politics. By ROBERT. JERVIS. ( Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Pp. xi, $ cloth, $ . Jervis, R. (). Perception and Misperception in International Politics. Princeton, Princeton. University Press. I. Chapter 1: Perception and the Level of Analysis. This study of perception and misperception in foreign policy was a landmark in the application of cognitive psychology to political decision making. The New.

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Lessons from the fall of the Shah and Iraqi WMDand several edited volumes and numerous articles in scholarly journals. There is some overlap between the material covered in Perception and Misperception and the essays in How Statesmen Think, and even among the twelve essays in the latter volume.

Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis

It would be difficult to overstate the extent to which Perception and Misperception has served as a foundational work in the field of international politics or the extent to which it has influenced the thinking of generations of students, scholars, and one hopes political leaders.

His most recent full-time position was as the Counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice. onternational

Spiral Model Security Dilemma, slow steps up spiral, positive view of enemy Cognitive Consistency — tendency to view mispercetpion information according to believed framework, expectations based Cognitive Dissonance — acknowledged evidence that does not meet framework, a conflict o Change behavior or o Change belief Perception of centralization, rational actor model 1 Wishful Thinking — desires based, little proof Jervis makes arguments politiics from IR relations and psychology some history, some social science, some poly-sci Favors a interdisciplinary approach with free but not casual thought.

They would be very modest, of course, about what they really know and can predict.

There is no reason why such a goal cannot be attempted in the realm of international relations. Of course, any comprehensive analysis of the first of these considerations internarional draw heavily on the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, [6] as indeed Jervis does in the second pairing of articles in How Statesmen Think.


By contrast, our perceptual predispositions concerning our physical environment serve us very well because of the frequent and unambiguous opportunities for verifying the relationships between incoming information and the stimulus that produce it.

Perception and Misperception in International Politics

Jervis was not the only analyst who sought to apply insights from psychology to intelligence ejrvis. As such, it is crucial that perception be as true as possible – all effort must be taken to avoid misperception.

Tony rated it liked it Feb 21, It is particularly valuable to try to look forward and see which areas political psychology should draw on and expand into in the future, and here Rose McDermott is astute in her comments, as she is in her own research. Jervis is a kind of analytic historian. In the private sector world of investment, investors are quite conscious of loss-aversion tendencies.

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Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (XXI)

Hope that more self-awareness will lead to better outcomes? How Statesmen Think provides a lightly edited compilation of previously published journal articles which all fall loosely under the umbrella of political psychology.

intenrational Retrieved from ” http: Without such assurances, the target has no reason to comply with the demands attached to the threat. Was he just a greedy nationalist with limited aims? As he makes clear at the outset of Perception and Misperceptionhe is interested in explaining not just the recurring patterns of why policy makers make the choices they do, but also why different people in the same situation make different choices A bit repetitive, but simple and informative. That lesson is strongest and most clearly laid out in Perception and Misperception.


He is not building scientific generalizations that invite predictive probability estimates.

Jervis begins by describing the process of perception for example, how decision makers learn from history and then explores common forms of misperception such as overestimating one’s influence. This is understandable given the fact that the twelve essays were originally published as stand-alone pieces. Much as I like work on signaling, which was the topic of my dissertation and the book that proceeded Perception and Misperception, [29] it makes heroic assumptions about how signals are perceived and acted upon.

The stature is deservedly great. Since humans behave very differently when protecting what they have than they do when gaining new things, how issues are framed by individuals as being in the realm of gains or the realm of losses is all important. In contrast with the structural theorists, Jervis emphasizes the role of the individual in the study of international relations.

Princeton University Press This study of perception and misperception in foreign policy was a landmark in the application of cognitive psychology to political decision making. To take just one example, even though it is obvious that deterrence depends on calculations made by the target state and that credibility and reputation matter or even exist only in the minds of perceivers, scholars are prone internagional talk otherwise, to analyze situations as though these factors are objective or, even worse, to portray them as properties of the actor, especially when it is the U.

The barriers to intelligence analysts and, even more, policy-makers internalizing the notion that world politics resembles Rashomon are even greater.