The Psychological Ideas of Amos Tversky and Their Relevance for Political Science

  title={The Psychological Ideas of Amos Tversky and Their Relevance for Political Science},
  author={R. Mcdermott},
  journal={Journal of Theoretical Politics},
  pages={33 - 5}
  • R. Mcdermott
  • Published 2001
  • Sociology
  • Journal of Theoretical Politics
Amos Tversky died in 1996. Tversky's professional ideas and contributions revolutionized not only his own field of cognitive psychology, but that of economics as well. The purpose of this article is to systematically outline the meaning and potential significance of Tversky's insights for the study of political science. This discussion centers on three specific foci: judgment under uncertainty; decision-making under risk; and reason-based choice. Two noteworthy points emerge from this review… Expand
▪ Abstract Prospect theory is the most influential behavioral theory of choice in the social sciences. Its creators won a Nobel Prize in economics, and it is largely responsible for the booming fieldExpand
Making the Real: Rhetorical Adduction and the Bangladesh Liberation War
Abstract Do normative arguments change what political actors do and if so, how? Rather than using the pure force of abstract moral reasoning, states often try to move the locus of contestation to anExpand
S0020818317000054jra 317..348
Do normative arguments change what political actors do and if so, how? Rather than using the pure force of abstract moral reasoning, states often try to move the locus of contestation to an arenaExpand
Politicians, the Representativeness Heuristic and Decision-Making Biases
Do politicians use the representativeness heuristic when making judgements, that is, when they appraise the likelihood or frequency of an outcome that is unknown or unknowable? Heuristics areExpand
Transnational Diffusion: Norms, Ideas and Policies
International interdependence is at the core of the international relations discipline, which is premised upon the fact that states interact with one another and examines the nature, causes, andExpand
The Contribution of Behavioral Economics to Political Science
Behavioral economics has become an important part of the economics profession. As a subfield, it tries to make sense of persistent violations of the standard model for economics. The major classes ofExpand
Ex Pluribus Unum: Integrating the Different Strands of Policy Diffusion Theory
Policy diffusion can be defined as a process in which policy choices are interdependent, that is, in which a choice made by one decision-maker influences the choices made by other decision-makers,Expand
Bizarre Beliefs and Rational Choices: A Behavioral Approach to Analytic Narratives
Rational choice analytic narratives claim to take seriously the way real actors form their beliefs. I argue that a commonly applied formal technique—perfect Bayesian equilibrium—inadequately accountsExpand
Presidential Risk Orientation and Force Employment Decisions
In this article, we explore how presidential risk orientations affect force employment decisions through an analysis of the use of unmanned weaponry during the Bush and Obama administrations. WeExpand
Risky Political Changes: Rational Choice vs Prospect Theory
This paper describes policy alternatives as lotteries, and studies how policy preferences are distorted by the cognitive anomalies postulated by Prospect Theory. Loss aversion induces a status quoExpand


Prospect Theory, Rational Choice, and International Relations
A half-decade after the first systematic applications of prospect theory to international relations, scholars continue to debate its potential utility as a theoretical framework. Key questionsExpand
Risk Taking in Latin American Economic Restructuring: Lessons from Prospect Theory
Prospect theory, a psychological theory of decision making that has shed new light on foreign policy choices, maintains that people tend to take high risks when facing losses, while proceeding withExpand
Choices, Values, and Frames
We discuss the cognitive and the psy- chophysical determinants of choice in risky and risk- less contexts. The psychophysics of value induce risk aversion in the domain of gains and risk seeking inExpand
Roosevelt and the Munich Crisis: Insights from Prospect Theory
The use of prospect theory to explain political decision-making challenges the claim of rational choice theory to provide a more convincing account of this behavior. Because President Roosevelt'sExpand
Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice
We contrast the rational theory of choice in the form of expected utility theory with descriptive psychological analysis in the form of prospect theory, using problems involving the choice betweenExpand
On Narrow Norms and Vague Heuristics: A Reply to Kahneman and Tversky (1996)
This reply clarifies what G. Gigerenzers (e.g., 1991. 1994; Gigerenzer & Murray, 1987) critique of the heuristics-and-biases approach to statistical reasoning is and is not about. At issue is theExpand
The Gains Debate: Framing State Choice
The theoretical bifurcation of international relations theory into (neo)realist and (neo)liberal camps has resulted in a “gains debate” that says little about an empirical world in which statesExpand
Prospect Theory and International Relations: Theoretical Applications and Analytical Problems
In this essay I evaluate the potential contribution of prospect theory to our understanding of international relations. I begin with the implications of loss aversion, the endowment effect, riskExpand
The Power of Perceptions in Foreign-Policy Decision Making: Do Views of the Soviet Union Determine the Policy Choices ofAmerican Leaders?
In this paper I consider the relationship between perception and policy choice in American foreign policy. My aims are to refine the treatment of perception by using the concept of schema and toExpand
Risk-taking in international politics : prospect theory in American foreign policy
Risk plays a dramatic role in international relations as leaders make decisions about such issues as war and peace, disarmament, and about lowering economic barriers to trade and investment. How aExpand