Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What To Do When Tortured?

In reading about the new video of a teenager's interrogation at Gitmo, I can't help but wonder what I would do if being tortured or heavily interrogated. I've thought a lot about this ever since I read Tyler Cowen's discussion of it in Discover Your Inner Economist. His point, is that you get stuck in a pooled equilibrium with other real secret agents who have been trained to copy the behavior of non-agents who would be in the same situation.

I would just accept that I was in a pooled equilibrium after a few days and pursue a strategy of just doing my best to act asleep during interviews, and try my best not to respond to the physical harm being inflicted. My guess is that the best interrogators through the process of selection are ones who enjoy the torment, and I would therefore try and do my best to not give them the gratification of great agony. Hopefully, on the margin, they would reduce the amount of torture and substitute to other inmates that would be more expressive. It could backfire of course, as they might see me more of a challenge and therefore a more worthy prize, in which case I would change and pursue the opposite strategy by immediately bursting into tears from any pain.

1 comment:

Gabriel M said...

I say confess instantly to anything and everything.

And, if possible, try to build up a reputation as someone who'd confess to anything and everything.

If people expect that your information or cooperation to be worthless, they won't be interested in you.