The World in Their Minds: Information Processing, Cognition, and Perception in Foreign Policy Decisionmaking


Yaacov Y. I. Vertzberger


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 1990
ISBN: 0-8047-2245-5
Binding: paper
Pages: x, 447


This is the most comprehensive study yet written of the dynamics that underlie information processing in foreign policy decision-making, the resultant biases and errors, and the implications for the quality of decisions.

© Stanford University Press


"The World in Their Minds (meaning the perception of those national decisionmakers whose actions affect us all) is a very good title; it is also a very good book…More than anything, this is a compendium of the manifold ways that misperception and, hence, miscalculation can enter into seemingly rational policy choice…The cases of Vietnam for the Americans and the Yom Kippur War for the Israelis constitute the primary data base for the wealth of illustrations cited, but numerous and apt examples are drawn from other pertinent events."

Canadian Public Policy

"An ambitious and virtually encyclopedic…survey of the existing psychological and organizational information-processing literature as it applies to foreign policy decisionmaking. Vertzberger has illustrated it amply with historical examples. For those unfamiliar with the literature, it would make a splendid introductions; for those who are familiar with it, the book provides a useful review and reference."

American Political Science Review

"Excellent…Strongly recommended to political communication students, students and practitioners of foreign policy analysis, and, of course, to critical readers in the White House."

Journal of Communication