12 April 2006
This week's Political Psychology and Behavior Workshop features a paper by Marcus Alexander and Matthew Harding titled "Beliefs over the Unknown: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism." Rose McDermott of UCSB is serving as discussant. We hope to the paper posted soon. The abstract says that democracy might have liabilities when it comes to beliefs about threats:
When faced with the imminent threat of terrorism, people draw on their own experience and imagination to assess the security risk. We develop a behavioral economic model of belief formation under the threat of terrorism, and explore how economic forecasting, assesment of terrorist threats, and democratic concensus are shaped by the people’s ability to combine rationality and immagination to understand the previously unknown. Due to the behavioral biases that arise in this process, the main implication of our findings on democratic politics is that free deliberation may lead to public concensus that further inflates biases, presenting a problem for decisions under the shadow of terrorism.
Posted by Barry Burden at April 12, 2006 7:31 PM