Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This short essay looks at several social forces that powerfully affect human behavior, often trumping individual “character,” personality, knowledge, and even deeply held moral beliefs. Specifically, this essay looks briefly at issues of obedience, conformity, and group polarization, discussing the ways in which they can affect and distort individual behavior. Ultimately, this essay suggests, understanding these dynamics can have important implications for how we think about counterinsurgency and stability operations.

Publication Citation

Rosa Brooks, Lessons from Social Psychology for Complex Operations, in STRATEGIC REALITIES IN IRREGULAR CONFLICT (Franklin D. Kramer & Melanne Civic, eds., Alexandria, VA: CNA Analysis & Solutions 2013)