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Jervis_BOOK_summary - Edward Cunningham [email protected] Robert...

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Edward Cunningham [email protected] 1 Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics , (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1976) Chapters 1 - 4 Causal Argument Theory: Decision-makers suffer from limiting cognitive psychology syndromes and the states they govern exhibit the same syndromes. As a result, State A underestimates its own role in causing hostility by State B. This occurs because State A engages in wishful thinking and believes that State B appreciates the defensive nature of State A’s actions. Psychological factors reinforce misunderstanding and limit rationality. Application: Models commonly invoked to explain the Cold War competition — the Deterrence Model and Spiral Model — fail to adequately explain state behavior. Psychological mechanisms better explain state behavior in the situations examined. The psychological limitations of the individual decision-maker as an intervening variable both account for context and open the “black box” of the decision-making process. Terms Perception consists of images , beliefs and intentions . Decision-making is a process of inference in which actors interact based on expectations of what others will do in a given set of circumstances. Jervis emphasizes that he uses the term “intentions” not as reflections of others’ means to achieve particular goals or interests, but rather as “the collection of actions that that state will or would take because that is what others are trying to predict.”(p.48) Therefore, estimating the intentions of others is subject to a probabilistic analysis that is grounded in two processes: 1) distinguishing external from internal sources of behavior (that is, how much of State B’s behavior do we relate to situational constraints and how much to the ambitions which we have learned from past behavior); 2) focusing not on how State B thinks it will act but rather on how State A thinks State B will end up acting.
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