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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Political crises—episodes of threat, uncertainty, and urgency—present a devilish problem: A literal meaning of crisis is “turning point,” and the practical experience is one of complex choices made under stress. In crises, then, decision-making[CE1] is unusually consequential and unusually difficult. This chapter offers a schema of crises that is broader than the usual focus upon acute international confrontation, and suggests that tasks of reality testing, sense making, narrative framing, and lesson learning confront decision-makers during these episodes. We incorporate new theorizing on dual-process models that differentiates between automatic-affective and deliberative-cognitive systems. This new paradigm portrays human psychology as a mixture of automatic reactions and shortcuts on the one hand, and effortful, comprehensive information processing on the other.

Keywords: crisis, dual-process models, stress, heuristics, decision-making

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