Robert Jervis's Perception And Misperception In International Politics

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Robert B. McCalla has remarked that a distinction should be made "between a psychological environment – the decision maker 's image of the setting in which decisions are carried out – and an operational environment – the actual setting in which they are carried out". While the first part of McCalla 's statement constitutes 'perception ', 'misperception ' is a situation where there is a mismatch between perception and reality. Yet, perception and misperception play a major role in the outcome of states ' foreign policy making. Their influential role in international politics has been debated by Robert Jervis in his ground-breaking book Perception and Misperception in International Politics whose ideas have been utilised in this book. The way Iranians, particularly their leaders, perceived the British has had a great impact on the formulation of the Iranian attitude towards Britain. Jervis has stated that "what matters in sending a message is not how you would understand it, but how others will understand it". Since perception "plays almost as important a role in international relations as does objective reality", Iranian–British relations have been greatly influenced by how Tehran and London have perceived and interpreted each other 's policies and messages. E. Ted Gladue has noted that "the clearer and more accurate the perceptions that each party has of the other parties, the greater are the chances for constructive communication, dialogue, and negotiation".

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