The Cognitive Revolution and the Political Psychology of Elite Decision Making

19 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2011 Last revised: 14 Oct 2015

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy

Alex Hughes

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

David G. Victor

UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Date Written: July 3, 2012

Abstract

Growing experimental evidence in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics is shaping the way political science scholars think about how humans make decision in areas of high complexity, uncertainty and risk. Nearly all those studies utilize convenience samples of university students, but insights from that work may not be directly applicable to decisions that are made by political elites. We survey the nascent empirical literature on elite decision-making and look at six areas where the insights of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics are particularly relevant for political behavior and where evidence suggests that experienced elites differ from convenience samples. These differences suggest testable implications for theories of political decision making, which we illustrate in one major area of political science theory — crisis bargaining.

Keywords: Political Psychology; Foreign Policy; Elites; Behavioral Economics; Crisis Bargaining

Suggested Citation

Hafner-Burton, Emilie Marie and Hughes, Alex and Victor, David G., The Cognitive Revolution and the Political Psychology of Elite Decision Making (July 3, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1917037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1917037

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (Contact Author)

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gps.ucsd.edu/ehafner/

Alex Hughes

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

David G. Victor

UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

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