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Foreign PolicyTheories, Actors, Cases

Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases (3rd edn)

Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne
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date: 08 August 2022

p. 1307. Foreign policy decision making

Rational, psychological, and neurological modelslocked

p. 1307. Foreign policy decision making

Rational, psychological, and neurological modelslocked

  • Janice Gross Stein

Abstract

This chapter examines the use of rational, psychological, and neurological models in foreign policy decision making. It begins with a discussion of two commonsensical models of rationality in decision making. In the first model, rational decision making refers to the process that people should use to choose. The second, more demanding, models of rational choice expect far more from decision makers. Borrowing heavily from micro-economics, they expect decision makers to generate subjective probability estimates of the consequences of the options that they consider, to update these estimates as they consider new evidence, and to maximize their subjective expected utility. The chapter proceeds by exploring psychological models and the so-called cognitive revolution, the relevance of cognitive psychology to foreign policy analysis, and the ways that the study of the neuroscience of emotion and cognition can be extended to the analysis of foreign policy and to decision making.

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