War Book + Politics & Persuasion panel

Sunday, August 9th,  | Picturehouse Central, London W1D 7DH


Exploring the process of decision making from scientific, social and political perspectives. A preview screening of acclaimed feature film WAR BOOK followed by discussion with experts in psychology and politics, looking at how decisions are made and the impact that group and social dynamics bring to bear.


WAR BOOK | Dir: Tom Harper. UK. 2014. 95mins

A chilling war game between a group of government officials exposes the fragility of our everyday life and those who govern it. Written by Jack Thorne, directed by Tom Harper and starring Adeel Akhtar, Nicholas Burns, Ben Chaplin, Shaun Evans, Kerry Fox, Phoebe Fox, Sophie Okonedo, Antony Sher and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, WAR BOOK takes place over three days as nine civil servants gather to take part in a policy shaping scenario. They are there to take decisions on Britain’s reaction to an international nuclear attack. Only two participants know the truth – that the country is secretly facing a real nuclear threat, and that their theoretical responses may become reality sooner than they can know.

At first the participants are casual, playing out the scenario against a backdrop of their own petty squabbles and personal ambitions, but as the scenario escalates and the group begins to address the breakdown of civil order, the reality that they are deciding our futures dawns. When personal politics crash irrevocably into the room, each is forced to look closely at what they really believe, and how much their decisions are actually worth.




Professor Peter Ayton is Associate Dean Research & Deputy Dean Social Sciences in the Department of Psychology at City University, London. Prof Ayton studies behavioural decision theory. Specifically, his research investigates how people make judgments and decisions under conditions of risk, uncertainty and ambiguity. He uses a variety of empirical methods including laboratory experiments, surveys and field studies. He is a member of the European Association for Decision Making and the Society for Judgment & Decision Making and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making; Current Psychology Letters: Behaviour, Brain & Cognition and Theory and Psychology.


Sue Einhorn is a Group Analyst who became a psychotherapist after many years as a youth worker, community development activist and lecturer. She is particularly interested in how the social context lives in our unconscious and how each person then shapes the social world around them.


Jane Kinninmont is a political analyst and economist. She is Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and is an occasional contributor to The Economist, Guardian, FT and Foreign Policy.



Presented with the support of a Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Grant