High School ・Political Science ・APA

An essential review of selected chapters is given in this text. The paper summarizes the key points, conclusions, and assertions of the author from the selected literature comprehensively.

Chapter One, "Perception and the Level of Analysis Problem," in Robert Jervis's book "Perception and Misperception in International Politics" (1976) aims to explore the perception of foreign policy decision-makers looking at the views, perspectives, and attitudes of decision-makers towards the world. Three layers of study, including institutional, domestic, and foreign environments, clarify the expectations of the decision-makers. The literature specifically considers the decision-making ability of politicians related to policymaking, which is intercepted by the beliefs of an individual.

The literature asserts to investigate perceptions impacting the political decision-making by looking through logic permits and psychological milieu to explain the occurrence of any event, condition of interaction between states. Jervis (1976) analyzes different situations in which decisions are taken to develop policies. He states that the clash between values is the main factor that affects society when it makes decisions according to the mindset of individuals to promote their interests. The conflict evolves when the bureaucratic interests contradict that impacts the development of policy-making (Jervis, 1976). The factors at the domestic level have an imperative impact on analysis for decision-making but it does not wholly impact the formation of generality that is important for decision-making of foreign policy.

It is because the domestic level analysis is not sufficient to explain the outcomes if the bureaucratic explanation is not aligned. Jervis (1976) outlines that the bureaucratic interests play a crucial role in the decision making because they promote well-being of the state by considering factors including social security, military concerns, diplomatic concerns, and others that may not be acknowledged at the domestic level. The theory of cause and effect is proposed by Jervis to develop the link between decision-making goals, perceptions, and calculations to explain the behavior of decision maker and his/her characteristics (Jervis, 1976).

Jervis (1976) highlights that the importance for decision-making needs to be assessed based on two dimensions. Firstly, the important differences in the policy are traceable to the differences in the decision related to the environment. Secondly, it needs to determine the difference between perceptions related to the decisions by comparing and contrasting reality or common perceptions to understand the dispute (Jervis, 1976). He explains that it is important to assess the differences through externalities (International Environment) to understand the decisions. For this, it is important to undertake an in-depth analysis for better understanding of motivations related to political decision making at domestic, environmental and bureaucratic levels. Therefore, the policy decisions should be analyzed by keeping in view the three levels involved to explain the notion of international paranoia related to foreign policy making as well as the factors that influence the leader’s view. It may be related to moral judgment or perceived knowledge of a leader in different situations (Jervis, 1976).

  1. The article, “Political Psychology and Foreign Policy,” written by Jack S. Levy discusses different frameworks to explain the political psychology of foreign policy behavior. In the article, different psychological variations are analyzed at the individual level to explain foreign policy decisions and actions (Levy, 2003).  Levy (2003) states that the psychological variables have an implicit impact on foreign policy decisions and actions because they influence the interaction pattern. Therefore, it is important to conduct an individual level analysis to understand the policy.

According to Levy (2003), psychological variables significantly influence the explanation of other dependent variables that would help to understand an individual’s beliefs, preferences, and decision making choices made at the individual, state or an organization level. General conceptual issues related to the application of psychological variables are explained in foreign policy and international relation. Levy (2003) claims that psychology has a little direct impact on decision-making models in international relations. He presents contradicting views of Jervis’s approach related to foreign policy analysis as it emphasizes more on the cognitive paradigm (perception and non-perception) of foreign policy (Levy, 2003). Levy (2003) outlines that psychological biases, cognitive heuristic, and emotional factors give rise to different perceptions. Moreover, he argues that the conceptual issues related to the psychological variable are not sufficient at the individual level to give a logical explanation of the foreign policy because the state level is a dependent variable. Both factors need to be integrated to explain the beliefs, judgments, perceptions, and preferences of an individual. 

The psychological variable itself is not sufficient to analyze foreign policy decision-making. There is a need for a set of issues that need to be analyzed to explain the causal chain. Levy (2003) states that if the psychology of foreign policy is explained through political psychology, then it would give a little explanation as it does not give enough attention to the political and strategic context that is a major component of foreign policy. If political and strategic factors are not taken into account, then it evolves methodological problems to generalize foreign policy. Levy (2003) criticizes that cognitive psychology should make new developments by adopting social psychology, theories of schemas, attributions, biases, and heuristic to separate unmotivated and motivated biases that affect interactions and the way to judgments and decisions are made. Also, Levy (2003) outlines the limitation of social psychology by exclaiming that there is a need to incorporate control for key political variables in experimental works to determine foreign policy (Levy, 2003).

The foreign policy analysis framework should be improved by adding other variables and altering the methodological approach. Levy (2003) suggests that the experimental design should integrate hypothesis and political and strategic contexts of decisions and judgments for a rational analysis. The interaction between political psychology and game theory should be traced to overcome the threat of misperception. Levy (2003) recommends that signaling models can also be used to deal with the threat of perception that impacts the receiver’s emotions, political interest, organizational culture or belief system (Levy, 2003).  The distortion occurs when the researchers do not interpret signals to explain manipulation. If the researchers take into consideration these factors, then the threat of perception can be explained through exploit or proclivities factors of the individual. It can be helpful to understand the perspective of decision makers. The threat assessment is also important to determine the accuracy of decisions that are made for foreign policy (Levy, 2003).

3.    The author of the article ‘Can personality and politics be studied systematically’ is F. I. Greenstein. In this article, Greenstein highlighted the political psychology and discussed the advancements that are taking place in this field. The key arguments of Greenstein are based on the personality and politics. The main idea of his article is to explain the problems of political psychology and need to study personality and behavior in depth (Greenstein, 1992, p. 109). Greenstein (1992) raises the argument that the political institution and process operate through human agency. It is important o understand the influence that has an imperative impact on the decision making of an individual for this it is important to conduct a systematic study of the personality and politics. Greenstein argues that if the analyst is not able to draw a connection between personalities and political actors it 's hard to explain political behavior. The finding of his research article is that basic personality and political performance are linked. The other main point is that the social needs are bringing change in the personality and behavior that is affecting the political activities as well (Greenstein, 1992).

According to Greenstein (1992), the properties of each are different from others. Therefore, there are fewer chances to do a systematic study of personality and politics (Greenstein, 1992). Herein, it should be noted that although there is a connection between basic human behavior and political behavior, it is obscure. The author builds key arguments on the study of politics and personality. According to Greenstein (1992), it is possible to study both simultaneously and desirable too. However, the systematic intellectual progress is not difficult if the self-conscious attention to conceptualization is done appropriately.

It should be noted that Greenstein focuses on interference and evidence because he wanted to modify his previous studies on political psychology. He reviewed the detailed literature in the article, and he sets the argument forth to modify his previous work by different literature in the same field (Greenstein, 1992). There are already controversies related to this topic. However, it is necessary to find out the empirical disagreements considering the real world scenario.



Greenstein, F. (1992). Can personality and politics be studied systematically. International Society of Political Psychology, 13(1), 105-128.


Jervis, R. (1976). Perception and the level of analysis problem. In Jervis, R., Perception and misperception in international politics (pp. 13-31). New Jersey: Princeton University Press.


Levy, J. S. (2003). Political Psychology and foregin policy. In D. O. Sears, L. Huddy, & R. Jervis, Oxford handbook of political psychology (pp. 253-284). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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