An analysis of the idea that initial probabilities of surprise attack become larger through a “multiplier” effect as a result of the compounding of each person’s fear of what the other fears. In particular, the study examines whether and how this phenomenon can arise through a rational calculation of probabilities, or a rational choice of strategy, by two players who appreciate the nature of their predicament. An attempt is made to determine whether an explicit model of this predicament can be built in which two rational players are victims of the logic that governs their expectations of each other.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.