This paper by Johan de Wit (Delft Technical University) presents brief summaries of four key studies that explore the factors that drive our intuitive or reasoned perceptions of risk. The first part presents two studies on information and the sources of information that are the foundations for this perception. The second part of this paper presents the summaries of two studies that explore the biases and heuristics that affect the decision maker in the interpretation of information. These studies are all conducted in the professional security domain to investigate real-life security risk decision making. The results of this paper identify some fundamental human traits that can be exploited to influence human decision behaviour. The paper highlights how a responsible decision maker should be aware of these traits and take them into account in their own daily praxis, as the results clearly and undoubtedly show the effects of these phenomena on judgements of, especially, experienced professionals.
The military application of information has a long history in influencing the outcome of war and conflict on the battlefield. Be it by deceiving the opponent, maintaining troop confidence, or shaping public opinion. These tactics are placed under the banner of influencing human behaviour. Behavioural influencing is the act of meaningfully trying to affect the behaviour of an individual by targeting people’s knowledge, beliefs and emotions. Within the Dutch armed forces these tactics fall under title of Information Manoeuvre. With the ever-larger and more evasive employment of information-based capabilities to target human cognition, the boundaries of the physical and cognitive battlefield have begun to fade.
For this paper series scholars, experts and policymakers submitted their papers on the employment of information-related capabilities to influence human behaviour in the military context. From the perspective of an individual European or NATO country’s perspective.
The Information-based behavioural influencing and Western practice paper series is edited by Arthur Laudrain, Laura Jasper and Michel Rademaker.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this paper are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or opinion of HCSS.