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POL208Y1 Lecture Notes - Cuban Missile Crisis, Fundamental Attribution Error, Napoleon Iii

Political Science
Course Code
La Haine

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dr strangelove-wed. @4 SS2117
Bismarck-germany-tries to get russia on his side and egg on napoleon (in france)-
napoleon wanted to live up to family expectaion, wife was concrned with image-so
Napoleon declared war on Prussia-one of the biggest defeats in french history-
napoleon was captured by the germans-->story that relies on the individual-what
cognitive traits or patterns of social sociological traits are behind decisionmaking
-in a case such as cuban missile crisis, people were stuck in a room, forced to
make a decision for HOURS with no sleep, -can they make good, calculated
decisions-choose option that maximizes utility and minimizes risk??
-a lot of people that get to these positions in politics are people who are good at
dealing with stress
Cognitive Models
Past experience, personality, skill
the effects of stress-in increased levels of stress we have a reduction in
cognitive complexity-stress makes us want to simplify situations, increased
cognitive rigidity, reduced time horizon--the more stress we have, the more
we feel like we have no time
we like a certain level of stress (procrastination)-when there is no stress, its
hard to motivate self
What happens when we work in groups?-may studies show that our
behavior is affected by the nature of the group-we accept what we feel is he
consensus-this is why JFK didnt sit in decisionmaking room during CMC-
also sense of responsibility is distorted b/c it is not individual blame but
blame of the group
Historical analogies-when we look at reality today we make sense of it by
historical models--historical analogies are necessary but we need to use
them in a careful way
Fundamental Attribution Error
How do we understand others' actions
!driven by structural constraints
!or driven by positional traits-making a certain decision because they
are "evil, irresponsible, smart, stupid"-something about thir
personality, identity as an individual or state
Milgrram's obedience experiements-we are obedient if we respect the
person of authority
the attribution error
!when I do X it is because of situational constraints
!the other (or enemy) does X because of dispositional traits
our own constraints but not the other side's
!"the russians are doing it becuase theyre evil, because we can't trust
them because theyre liars, because they want to take over the world"-
underemphasize their constraints and overemphasize our constraints
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