ERIC Number: ED291647
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Oct-12
The Principle of Cognitive Consistency and Central American Policy: A Comparison of the Carter and Reagan Administrations.
The principle of cognitive consistency, formulated by Jack Snyder, explains decision-making under stressful conditions. Snyder contends that decision-making under stressful conditions creates a drive toward cognitive consistency and brings into operation tendencies: (1) toward a perception of certainty about an opponent's intention and the righteousness of one's own position; (2) toward perceiving the principal values in the situation as consistent rather than inconsistent; and (3) toward adopting a strategy of compellance rather than negotiation. A revised model of this principle is used to evaluate foreign policy toward Central America during the Reagan administration and to contrast it with that of the Carter administration. Critical events preceding Reagan's election produced uncertainty in foreign affairs during his administration. Under Reagan, aid to El Salvador and Honduras increased dramatically and three new Central American countries received increased aid. The Carter administration was marked by a more analytical model of decision-making as exemplified by the policy on human rights. A "normalization" of the situation in Central America should bring about the return of analytical decision-making, according to this model. The signing of the Arias Peace Plan and the tentative negotiations which followed suggest that watchful accommodation will replace the current policy of military intervention. Thirty-one footnotes are included and an appendix provides a series of graphs and charts (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A