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Jane Austen, Game Theorist$
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Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162447

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162447.001.0001

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Real-World Cluelessness

Real-World Cluelessness

(p.211) Chapter Thirteen Real-World Cluelessness
Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows how cluelessness operates in the real world and offers five explanations for cluelessness. First, cluelessness can be considered as just another kind of mental laziness. Second, to enter into another's mind, one must imagine physically entering his body, and a higher-status person finds entering a lower-status person's body repulsive. Third, clueless people rely upon and invest more in social status because it provides literal meaning in complicated situations; people not naturally talented in strategic thinking gravitate toward status-mediated interactions, such as those within hierarchical organizations, because they need the explicit structure that status provides. Fourth, cluelessness can improve one's bargaining position and fifth, entering another's mind may inevitably lead toward empathy. To illustrate the relevance of cluelessness in the real world, the chapter applies these explanations to the U.S. attack on Fallujah in 2004.

Keywords:   cluelessness, mental laziness, social status, strategic thinking, bargaining position, empathy, Fallujah

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