Perceptions during Conflict
In chapter 4 we argued that a number of inter-related psychological processes concerned with the alleviation of excessive stress occur frequently within human individuals, whether leaders or followers, successes or failures, activists or passive supporters. Furthermore, involvement in conflict situations and processes brings many of these processes into operation: (i) more frequently, (ii) with greater intensity and (iii) across a wider range of individuals than do co-operative situations, where there are seldom the same levels of fear, suspicion, threat or hostility. We now outline in more detail some of the perceptual and evaluative results of psychological processes previously discussed as efforts to establish and maintain cognitive consistency. Most illustrations of results from relevant stress-reducing processes will be taken from international conflict. However, the same general type of perception and evaluation frequently occurs in intra-national conflict, even though exact content might vary. Chapter 5 therefore discusses common phenomena of group perception during a conflict, and distortions or misperceptions caused by high levels of tension, fear, suspicion or anxiety.
KeywordsConflict Situation Territorial Dispute Opposing Party Soviet Leader Conflict Attitude
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