Class6 - Perceptions .and Their Role in Decisions...

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…and Their Role in Decisions Perceptions and Reality Perceptions exist and matter because of the uncertainties actors face in world politics. Actors could be uncertain about: Facts—the role of intelligence The Missile Gap Interpretation of facts The attack on Pearl Harbor Others’ motivations and preferences Stalin, Hitler, and Churchill in spring of 1941 Consequences of one’s own actions Benefits and costs of environmental programs In all these examples, perceptions and reality are related. Perceptions may not match reality; they express actors’ understanding of their situation. Perceptions and Uncertainty Perceptions give an actor’s understanding of reality in the face of uncertainty. We can think of that uncertainty as a set of possibilities, one of which is true. Preferences of another actor Which side’s military is stronger The effects of pollution on society Perceptions can be thought of as probabilities across the set of possibilities. Two Possibilities in a Threat The two figures to the right give two possible As that B might face. If the top figure is true, then B would like to acquiesce. If the bottom figure is true, then B would like to defy A. Chance of Types as Perceptions We can think of two types of A: one resolute, one irresolute. B’s problem is that it does not know which type of A it faces. The relative chances of the two types of A is B’s perception of A’s resolve. The higher the chance of the resolute A, the stronger B’s perception that A is resolute. B is certain only when one type has chance 1, and B thinks the other type has no (0)
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POLISCI 160 taught by Professor Morrow during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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Class6 - Perceptions .and Their Role in Decisions...

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