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The Psychology of Strategy – Exploring Rationality in the Vietnam War - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Psychology of Strategy: Exploring Rationality in the Vietnam War

Kenneth Payne


How do strategists decide what they wish to achieve through war, and how they might accomplish it? And why does their understanding of violence regularly turn out to be wrong? In seeking answers, this book draws on the study of psychology to examine strategic behaviour during the Vietnam War. It explores the ways in which cognitive biases distort our sense of our own agency and our decision-making. The Nixon and Johnson administrations both proved susceptible to processes that are familiar to students of modern neuroscience and psychology, but perhaps less appreciated within strategic studies. ... More

Keywords: Vietnam War, war, psychology, strategy, Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, rationality, emotion, cognitive biases, risk

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190227234
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190227234.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kenneth Payne, author
King's College London & Oxford University