Neil D. Shortland, Laurence J. Alison and Joseph M. Moran

Published in print March 2019 | ISBN: 9780190623449
Published online February 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190623463 | DOI:

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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This book is about decisions in military conflict and the psychological conflict they cause. By drawing on interviews conducted with real soldiers about real situations they faced, the book explores how soldiers choose between seemingly impossible options for which all outcomes appear horrendous. Their vivid and sometimes upsetting stories were part of the experience of war and became part of their identity. This book describes the processes that make choice selection so difficult; the psychology of decisional conflict; and the immediate, short-term, and longer term behavioral consequences of these actions. Special attention is directed to the concept of “decision inertia”—one of several kinds of “failures to act” in which decision-makers are unable to calculate and/or commit to a least-worst course of action. By referring to many real cases, readers are invited to consider their own responses to choosing between difficult options in order to help them understand what it might feel like when faced with making a least-worst decision in war.

Keywords: decision-making; conflict; decision inertia; military; recognition prime; choice; consequence

Book.  248 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology ; Social Psychology

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