Simple cognitive models of the adversary are useful in a variety of domains, including national security analysis. Having alternative models can temper the tendency to base strategy on the best-estimate understanding of the adversary, and can encourage building a strategy that is better hedged and more adaptive. Best estimates of adversary thinking have often been wrong historically. Good cognitive models must avoid mirror-imaging, which implies recognizing ways in which the adversary's reasoning may be affected by history, culture, personalities, and imperfect information, as well as by objective circumstances. This paper describes a series of research efforts over three decades to build such cognitive models, some as complex computer programs and some exceptionally simple. These have been used to represent Cold-War Soviet leaders, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and modern-day leaders of al Qaeda. Building such models has been a mixture of art and science, but has yielded useful insights, including insights about the sometimes-subtle influence of leaders' decision-making culture.
Table of Contents
The Need for Cognitive Models
Background: Large A. I. Models in Analytic War Gaming
Modeling North Korean Leaders in the Context of Nonproliferation Negotiations
Using Cognitive Models to Understand Terrorism and Public Support for Terrorism
Computational Implementation of Factor Tree Models
Conclusions and Suggestions for Research