Using Both Your Head and Your Heart: The Role of Perspective Taking and Empathy in Resolving Social Conict
S uccess in strategic conict situations often necessitates a clear understand-ing of the underlying motives and likely behaviors of one’s opponent. In Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, for example, the captain of a Soviet nuclear submarine enters U.S. waters and engages a new technology to avoid detection. Although U.S. military commanders suspect he is preparing to attack the United States, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst named Jack Ryan
is convinced that the captain is actually trying to defect. The resulting standoff mirrors aclassic prisoner’s dilemma: Should the United States preventively use force, ensuring ashort-term victory, or try the riskier but potentially more rewarding route of mutual cooperation? In the end, Ryan is proved right: the U.S. military delays the attack, the Soviet commander does switch allegiance, and America gains a stalwart ally in the Cold War.