The Strategic Empathy in the World Politics: Is It Possible to Overcome the Rashomon Effect and Fundamental Attribution Error?

The Strategic Empathy in the World Politics:
Is It Possible to Overcome the Rashomon Effect and Fundamental Attribution Error?

Chugrov S.V.,

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 252110 | ORCID: 0000-0002-8307-7606 | RESEARCHER_ID: E-4747-2016

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2021.05.08

For citation:

Chugrov S.V. The Strategic Empathy in the World Politics: Is It Possible to Overcome the Rashomon Effect and Fundamental Attribution Error? – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 5. P. 109-126. (In Russ.).

The article was prepared in the framework of a research grant funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (grant ID: 075-15-2020-930)


Political and psychological factors, in particular the Rashomon effect (a plurality of parallel ‘true’ versions) and the fundamental attribution error, provide us with capacity to give a more insightful description of the mechanism of the emergence of internal political and international conflicts of varying intensity in our increasingly complex world. They also reveal the anatomy of turbulent global processes that on a mass level, have formed a presentiments of apocalyptic catastrophes, which, moreover, is fueled by propaganda. In political communication, the fundamental attribution error is expressed in the fact that many politicians and journalists tend to overestimate the positive characteristics of ‘us-group’ (their country) and ignore situational factors when assessing the behavior of ‘others’, ‘their-groups’. Because of the fundamental attribution error, politicians and the media tend to evaluate the actions of the opposing side as negative actions and ignore situational factors that could play a role. This is a typical source of an ‘alternative truth’ in the media, biased judgments and misunderstandings that can aggravate international relations. The author argues that causal attribution errors feed irrational nationalist feelings, although the psychological mechanisms of this process are still poorly explored. As a method of overcoming the psychological mechanisms of reality distortion, the author proposes a wider use of the strategic empathy toolkit. 

human capital, psychological factors, foreign policy, Rashomon effect, causal attribution, psychology of international relations.


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Content No. 5, 2021

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