Coercive persuasion or "thought reform" is understood as a coordinated system of coercive influence and behavior control designed to deceptively manipulate individuals, in the interest of the originators of the program. Thought reform is regarded as situational adaptive belief change and thought reform programs have been distinguished from other efforts in an overlapping continuum of social influence based on the descriptions of the social structure of thought reforming environments. Elements that distinguish from other socialization schemes to promote compliance are the interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self, the use of an organized peer group and interpersonal pressure to promote conformity as well as the manipulation of the totality of the subject's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified.
Some of the social control characteristics of reform programs are typically control of communication, emotional and behavioral manipulation; conformity to behavior derived from doctrine; demands for confession; unconditional agreement to ideology, manipulation of language into clichés; reinterpretation of human experience and emotion in terms of doctrine and inferiority of those not sharing the ideology.
The essential strategy used by such programs is to systematically select sequence and coordinate numerous coercive persuasion tactics continuously over extended periods of time. Thought reform programs are sophisticated and subtle, creating a psychological attachment that is far more powerful than methods of influence that use only threat. Successful psychological destabilization induces a negative shift in global self evaluations and increases uncertainty about one's values and position. It thereby reduces resistance to demands for compliance while increasing suggestibility. Coercive persuasion is applied in sequential phases of Solve et Coagula. In a three phase model this destabilization period is followed by a phase of "change" leading to a stage of "re-form" consolidation and reinforcement of thought.
Influence procedures commonly used during modern police interrogation can inadvertently manipulate innocent persons' beliefs about their own innocence and, thereby, cause them falsely to confess. Confessions resulting from successfully applying sequential patterns and phases of thought reform are classified as coerced internalized false confessions. The use of certain commonly employed interrogation procedures and a "suspect" with a minimum of psychological vulnerability is all it needs to elicit a temporarily believed false confession.
A frame is a psychological device that offers a perspective and manipulates salience to influence subsequent judgment. By inviting to view the topic from a certain perspective it not only offers a perspective but manages the observer's alignment in relation to the subject. In a visual field some objects are perceived as prominent while others recede in the background. Directing the viewer to consider certain features and to ignore others, perception is organized around the frame and may be resized to fit within the constraints of the framework. By implying a certain organization for the information it co-creates the picture and influences judgment and information received. Influencing the way a problem is perceived can lead to radically different solutions. According to Prospect Theory, humans give priority to not loosing. Gains are secondary to "no loss". Framing a decision in terms of possible loss should motivate more than framing the same decision in terms of possible gain, a person is more likely to follow conservative strategies when presented with a positively-framed dilemma and choosing risky strategies when presented with negatively-framed ones.
All variants of the Frame Problem in a theory of mind are special cases of the problem of complete description. It not only appears within the situation calculus for representing a constantly changing world, closely related to the general problem of the "laws of motion" which can adequately describe the world, but also in prediction, induction, reasoning, natural language understanding, learning and other problems. It is generally not possible to specify the necessary and sufficient conditions for anything and it is even unknown what is meant by "a complete description" of, for example, everything that is relevant for a particular action in a particular situation in view of a particular goal. A prevailing framing effect is in media itself where news programs may even try to follow the rules for objective reporting and yet inadvertently convey a dominant framing of the news that prevents most audience members from making a balanced assessment of a situation.
Illusions can help to understand perception by offering clues when and how perception fails. While hallucinations are defined as a false perception in the absence of stimulation, induced by drugs or other influences, illusions are misinterpretations of stimuli consistently experienced. The horizon illusion, in which the moon appears larger on the horizon than at the zenith was discussed in antiquity, and is still the subject of study. Illusions show the complexity of visual perception but there is no satisfying theory for many of these illusions, or even of the reasons why they should exist. They can be documented and classified though and they do have some practical applications. Illusions are no more or less illusory than anything else but it is an illusion in the technical sense that if you take a physical measurement and compare that to your perceptual judgment, there's a discrepancy. There are several types of visual illusion that are characteristic artifacts of the visual system and give clues to underlying processes. A long list of optical illusions demonstrates some of these mechanisms. A lot of them have to do with dimensional effects and/or background/foreground effects resulting from a failure of estimation, or from the faulty comparison of distances or objects. Illusions are also related to contrast of brightness and ambiguity. A picture drawn on a flat background is a deliberate illusion attempt to trick the eye into perceiving a three-dimensional scene, the skill of perceiving depth and perspective in a painting is learned and not innate. Since the eye, because the retina is two-dimensional, must do something similar in its normal functioning this is very effective. Adaptation, where the ambient illumination comes to appear as white as possible, and color constancy, where colors are interpreted similarly under different conditions of illumination are not illusions but fundamental and useful properties of the color sense.
From sensation, the reception of stimulation of the environment and the initial encoding into the nervous system to perception, the cognitive processes through which we interpret messages those sensors provide, it is a human cognitive tendency to construct meaningful perception from fragments of sensory information and to group objects into well organized whole structures instead of isolated parts. This grouping of features into perceptual wholes is based on rules like proximity, similarity, continuation, closure and common fate direction. Cognitive illusions or the illusions of knowing are analogous to optical illusions with a systematic discrepancy between a judged answer and a correctly measured answer. Individuals are subject to very consistent and predictable errors in judgment. These errors of reason are not due to lack of expertise or intelligence but are embedded in the fundamental mechanisms by which we process information.
Fear and longing as prime human motivations have been used by techniques of influence engineering for ages. On the assumption that all targets are benefit-seekers the perception factor of "good" and "bad" as well as status (having something, or not) plays a substantial role. To provide a structure for understanding behavioral motivation hierarchies of personal needs have been proposed. Physiological needs (survival, food, drink, health) safety needs (clothing, shelter, protection) affection needs (companionship, bonding) esteem needs (self-respect, achievement, appreciation) self-fulfillment needs? utilizing one?s potential.
The thirty-six stratagems of the Chinese secret art of war is an ancient collection that describe some of the most cunning and subtle methods that are applied in psychological warfare to undermine both the opponent's will and judgment.
Manipulative information techniques can be classified in various systems and categories but psychological influence stratagems do not replace procedures in PSYOP planning, development, or dissemination. "Self-evident" techniques appeal to authority, slogans, name calling etc. while other stratagems are based on information deficit of target or analyst. ("Lying" or selective omission, simplification and choosing from a variety of facts only those which support the purpose are examples.) While many techniques make use of dramaturgy (change of pace, stalling and deliberately withholding information, "shift of scene" to take the spotlight off an unfavorable situation by shifting it to another are examples of this category) others use chains of arguments. Where an argument, expressed or implied, is a reason, or a series of reasons, offered as to why the target should behave, believe, or think in a certain manner resulting in the inferred intent of the originator on the target audience.
Major PR firms, usually international operations, advertise their services clearly: "The role of communications is to manage perceptions which motivate behaviors that create business results." Helping clients to manage issues by combined influencing of public attitudes, public perceptions, public behavior and public policy, Corporate Intelligence is a means of protecting corporate power against democratic forces mainly through advertisement and public relations. To manipulate opinion and policy to their advantage and to confuse the public, corporations spend billions on hiring PR firms to cultivate the press and to manage spin control. Beyond advertisement Public Relations applies advanced media relations methodology and uses authority transfer and third party techniques voicing their messages through "trusted sources" or "independent experts". Corporate Intelligence offers a broad range of services, from using polls and applying psycho geographic profiling based on operations research to find out what images and messages will resonate with target audiences, to active spying on critics, discrediting opponents or co-opting citizens' groups.
Commercial Public Relations and crisis management firms routinely apply counterintelligence strategies to neutralize grassroots activist groups. In operation plans activists are sometimes divided into four categories: radicals, opportunists, idealist and realists. Deactivation of a social activist group is achieved by a three step strategy of isolating the radicals, cultivating and educating the idealists into realists and finally co-opting the realists. The "radicals" who usually have an agenda of political empowerment and social justice are marginalized and discredited. The idealists are exposed to reeducation and psychological persuasion. Pragmatic realists and opportunists are manipulated through trade-offs and perceptions of "partial victories". Manipulating citizens groups and fake grassroots mobilization, so called Astroturf, as well as Viral Marketing schemes have become a routine practice for agencies specialized in Public Affairs.
Humans need to find ways to escape the vicious circle of forced work for wages and imposed leisure, to escape symbolic dominance and cultural entrainment, the "reality" of everyday life and the flatlands of binary logic. The change towards an immaterialization of goods, electromagnetic pulses driving the global banking networks and media-satellites is based on a change from body-work to attention span management. Not the inclination for poetry but the compulsion for complexity reduction spiralizes the information management into the occult while the mesh of media creates black holes of attention and sells it off to the wormholes of the commodified anti-markets. Transactions and exchange is independently leading to the desubstantiation of the economic process through immanent conversion of values. The economy of attention creates singularities, personified attractors of telemetric flesh as mind focus, dark stars in mediaspace, social sculptures with habits as capricious as tribal African fetishes. The transformation of the economic competition into a battle for attention is sometimes also seen as a hidden blessing in the power structure of the social organism.
If the transfer of control from human to machine is part of a process aimed at disciplining the human body in order to increase its potential and at the same time gain control over its skills, the so-called abolition of slavery led to the introduction of a subtle form of generalized subjugation where with the help of superior methods of control, the symbol-manipulative intelligence of the workforce can be increased to meet the requirements of production. The assumption of solidarity of a working class seems a misconception when association with work is effectively the choice of losers. Political theories and movements relate to historic facts which can become dull and questionable with the advance of time. Hardly any facts can be truly verified anyway - so who cares. The brain filters out all but a few of millions of signals, the rest is called factual reality. The only fairly secure personal facts: birth and death, two numbers with a "-" in between produce a shift of interest from facts to effects. Human pleasure seeking organisms, born to have fun, carry the risk of permanent brain stroke in an environment where "enjoying your self" is a political risk. Synesthetic effects refer to the involuntary physical experience in which the stimulation of one sense modality causes an additional perception in different senses. The movement of hedonistic escape from materialism is a global language of zero work ethics in full e~fact. Towards the united international hedonistic diversification, critical escapism will dance at the grave of ordinary pancapitalism.
Psychological Operations have become a vital part of the broad range of political, military, economic and ideological activities used to secure national objectives or private interests. Intelligence Professionals insist on the efficiency of the manipulation methods: "By the application of sound PSYOP techniques, through face-to-face communication or media communications, it has been demonstrated, time and time again, that the appeal to the intelligence, reason, and emotions of the target audience gets them to think and act as desired."
Intelligence is the virtual substitute for violence in the Information Society. Counterintelligence (CI) requires systematic, detailed examination or inquiry and is concerned with identifying and counteracting intelligence manipulation by services, organizations, or individuals. Targeting the information environment includes influencing culture, the cognitive industry and the artistic domain to manipulate the emergence of esthetic norms and symbolic gestures. In a conflict of resistance to zombie culture it is understood that traditional art can no longer be justified as an activity to which one could honorably or usefully devote oneself. The increased morbidity of this cultural battle space will add to the importance of stealth, mobility, dispersion and pursuit of a higher operational tempo. The artist as a reality hacker is a cultural intelligence and counterintelligence operator for what should more appropriately be considered parallel or hidden cultures instead of the common terms "underground" or "marginal". In a world filled with propaganda alleging its existence Cultural Intelligence methods against monopolization of perception and the homogenization of cultural patterns have developed to a variety of techniques. Pre-existing elements in society can be used to evoke a meaning that was not originally intended in these elements and by transformation bring about an entirely new message that reveals the underlying absurdity of the spectacle. But not only the practice of subvertisement, culture jamming, semiotic counterterrorism, collective phantoms, media invasion, autonomous space exploration, all known means of artistic expression need to converge in a general movement of counter-propaganda which must encompass all the perpetually interacting aspects of social reality.
Cultural intelligence gathers, evaluates and processes meta-information about the foundations of information based society. This includes clear analysis and investigation of its societal, cultural, economic and political potentials and dangers. Cultural Intelligence serves the public interest through empowerment and acts as a balance to traditional military or economic intelligence services that gather information to increase control. Cultural intelligence services compensate the public?s lack of meta-information as socio-political and cultural foundation for decision-making. These services need to foster and protect the public sphere and discourse as well as the variety and richness of cultural expressions in a society increasingly determined by information and communication technologies.
To meet the public?s need for high quality and accessible cultural information and content, cultural intelligence processes information on developments and probable courses of action in the infosphere. Cultural Intelligence advocates citizens' rights of cultural freedom, freedom of opinion and expression, communication and privacy.
By observing and analyzing enlightening cultural, socio-political, technological and economical trends, culture intelligence counters indoctrination and propaganda.
This is not longer about the individual looking at the media, but the media staring back. The walls have become alive with distributed computational intelligence, top sight telecommunication of remote viewing and control. Overwhelming dominance of electronic information systems, digitized footprints of social transactions make it feasible to process information over long sequences of widely dispersed activities, a perpetual, pervasive surveillance. The game is to monitor everything, everywhere, all the time. Unintentional modulation along with unintentional emission constitutes examples of lesser known forms of signal and electronic intelligence. An edition of the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms explains signal intelligence (SIGINT) as a category comprising all communications intelligence (COMINT), electronics and telemetry intelligence and involves the reception and characterization of electromagnetic radiation. SIGINT effectiveness is at a point where virtually all electromagnetic communication is highly vulnerable. Many Agencies owe their existence to the secretive continuous absorption of electromagnetic emissions, you might say they are harvesting and feeding on it. Confronted with omnipresent, all-seeing data-mining banks, passivity and compliance is the safest route for any citizen, avoiding anything a computer would find interesting.