NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON: It took 10 years for US troops to become expert on Afghanistan, and they still meet ugly surprises, like the ongoing spate of insider attacks by those they believe to be their allies. For the next war, the Army wants to fast-forward right past that long and painful learning curve.

So top generals have become increasingly intrigued by new developments at the intersection between psychology and neurology, driven by advances such as DNA testing and MRI brain scans. This emerging “decision science” offers the potential to better understand how people think in cultures around the world — before unexpected violence catches Americans lethally off-guard. Keep reading →