National Decision Making: Simulated or Not?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 197–198. Reviews the book, Simulated Worlds: A Computer Model of National Decision-Making by Stuart A. Bremer (1977). Psychologists encountering a book by a political scientist on national decision making might expect to find themselves at that intriguing interface of the two disciplines peopled by the likes of Jams, Axelrod, or Steinbruner. Perhaps the failure of the author's book to fulfill that expectation contributed to this reviewer's disappointment. The author has made a positive contribution to the study of world politics in particular and to political and other social science generally. The author's provides a good discussion of the “process modeling” approach to theory construction as developed by Simon and his colleagues at CMU and elsewhere. The author builds a good case for the selection of the six initial system configurations and the four sets of parameter values that defined the 24 different, but related, five-nation systems that were explored in his simulation runs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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