Shelves: saass-books , foundations-of-strategy In Perception and Misperception, Robert Jervis takes the baton from Allison and Kahneman and expands the argument that the world is a very complicated place and that our brains overcome this with perceptions and analogies. The strength of this is that we can rapidly make sense of complicated situations, but the downside is that we are very prone to misperception. Thinking about how we think and how our adversaries think is very important. These concepts are also very important in understanding In Perception and Misperception, Robert Jervis takes the baton from Allison and Kahneman and expands the argument that the world is a very complicated place and that our brains overcome this with perceptions and analogies. These concepts are also very important in understanding how hard it is to be a critical thinker. His discussion of the contradictory rationality of deterrence and spiral theory conjures the need for thinking more about security dilemmas.
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Jervis is a respected and influential scholar of international relations. His work on misperception in politics is considered groundbreaking. The argument is that by studying past examples of divergence between perception and reality in decision making, we can compensate for misperception and improve the decisions that underpin international relations.
Jervis argues that misperception is not the exception, but the normal state of psychology. Jervis outlines and defines models and conditions explaining how misperceptions occur, primarily by demonstrating the causes that make us filter data in a way that is preferable and comfortable to the way we think cognitive consistency.
Jervis seeks to educate the reader by building awareness of these patterns. His book exists at the nexus of history, international relations, and psychology.
A Game of Chicken, bets outcome if you stay on course. With spiralism, any act is considered an act of aggression, creating a spiraling dynamic.
A Prisoners Dilemma, activity happens that drives you to react and it fuels the next reaction. Hence, decision makers must attempt to apply a variety of models and gain new adversary outlooks, any one of which could be a true representation of the adversary Cognitive consistency represents the interaction between theory and data; this causes incoming data to be assimilated into existing mental models Innovation is prevented by commitment to an existing image; those most involved in the policies attached to the old image will be least able to innovate Learning from history; decision makers form images from life lessons Overgeneralization is a pitfall of learning from history; causality is obscured Centralization is rarely as present as it may seem; decision makers will often view adversaries as more centralized and calculating than they are truly capable of being Premature Cognitive Closure; Know that you cannot get all info, therefore you have a tendency to premature look in and be wrong.
Dissonance is a sonic term; the tone is not in harmony Strategies to minimize misperceptions Assumptions and predictions should be made explicit so they can be evaluated Encourage the formulation and application of alternative images Organizations should not allow prospects and identities to become tied to specific theories and images of other actors Be aware and guard against common misperceptions.
On the deterrence side, strength is the best argument, and demonstrations of capability, will, and intent to defeat military strategies are seen as the best way to guarantee security by convince others from using force against you competition, game of chicken.
In the spiral model proponents view, which is an inherently cynical realist one assumption of Hobbesian universe , building up only guarantees that others will perceive your defensive capabilities as offensive ones, and attempts to show strength will only start an arms race, race for resources, etc This helps to explain why being a "combat veteran" in a previous war does not necessarily guarantee success in the next one, especially if one erroneously applies the lessons of the last war to the present one — which might be why many innovators are either young or new to their fields p On the other side, if you know that your opponent is a hammer kind of guy, you might be able to use that against him to lead him down the primrose path kinda like the Roadrunner switching out the nail with a detonator plunger as the Coyote swings away with his ACME mallet.
The trick is to get the most out of the sameness, while recognizing the critical differences that may make the previous example either inapplicable or even harmful if imitated. Again, tough to overcome the lessons of prior experience, especially if it was a searing one and these past experiences i. Ch 9: We tend to take credit for things we did not do, and disassociate blame from ourselves from bad things we did. Pretty human tendency, but on the flipside, we may not be making the impression on the other side that we think we are, for better or worse.
But the author also states that people tend to avoid extremes when they have an ability to shape the situation, and that they tend to be more open to conflicting information when one can still act on what they believe will happen.
Perception and Misperception in International Politics
Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics