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Public lecture by Robert Jervis, Professor of International Relations at Columbia University, on Perception and Misperception 40 Years Later: Reputation in IR

Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 1:30 pm

ABSTRACT| 40 years after the publication of “Perception and Misperception” we still lack a unified theory of the subject, but do know more.  It seems clear that in science, politics, and everyday life perceptions are theory-driven, which manifests itself in several ways including confirmation bias, premature cognitive closure, the allure of stories, and the power of framing effects.  Among other things, this can produce polarization and undermines standard Bayesianism.  Emotions and needs (both psychological and political) also are key, and have been explored by significant research.

BIO| Specializing in international politics in general and security policy, decision making, and theories of conflict and cooperation in particular, his Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War was published by Cornell University Press in April 2010. Among his earlier books are American Foreign Policy in a New Era (Routledge, 2005), System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life (Princeton 1997); The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution (Cornell 1989); Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton 1976); and The Logic of Images in International Relations (Columbia 1989). Jervis also is a coeditor of the Security Studies Series published by Cornell University Press. He serves on the board of nine scholarly journals, and has authored over 100 publications.