Psychological Profiling and Digital Mass Persuasion

As a writer, I often sit back and ask myself how easy it would have been to tell people what they wanted to hear, instead of taking the approach I did. It was easy to write about a socialist takeover of America when Obama was president because it was obvious. Obama’s smooth rhetoric and charismatic personality won him many votes from the Republican side. Probably because many people were worn out after 8 years of continuous war and excessive spending under the Bush Administration. People wanted change, and not only did Obama promise change, his persuasive messaging provided hope for millions of people across the country. It wasn’t long after he assumed office that people saw him for what he was. A professional agitator whose fundamental goal was the transformation of America into something more reminiscent of a European welfare state. My writing endeavors kickstarted a couple of years into Obama’s first term when I was a student in an Undergraduate social work program. This is when Obama was pushing Obamacare and turning every point of disagreement into a racial issue. I was explicitly told I wasn’t fit for the program because of my opposition to “white privilege” and the liberal ideology as a whole, to be frank. This is when I started writing. I spent the next few years writing articles about Obama’s Alinsky tactics, how his policies equated to socialism, and his goal to eradicate the second amendment. Something I care deeply about. All went well until, in 2015, I decided to question Donald Trump’s sincerity by pointing out some inconsistencies in what he was saying in his campaign and who he really was.  I mean, everybody knew he was a New York Democrat with a history of friendship with the Clintons, but suddenly he was this great conservative? The next few years would be marked by a deep-dive study into propaganda, persuasive messaging, and what is known about our responses to media communications. At a time when nearly every conservative outlet was praising Trump as the savior of America who was playing some kind of 4D chess game,  I was one of the few questioning the legitimacy of it all. This was something people didn’t want to hear. In today’s social media world, a publisher’s ability to remain relevant depends largely upon how many “likes” their articles get. That begs the question; are they telling you the truth or what you want to hear? It is the nature of the new propaganda that the answer is the latter of the two.

If Americans are more interested in preserving their liberty as opposed to simply having their party win an election, I think they need to study social psychology and persuasive communications. These are the primary areas of research that aim to shape and guide public thought and belief. Edward Bernays writes in his book, Propaganda, for example, that society’s beliefs, habits, and loyalties can be taken advantage of to produce artificial reactions on demand, or ready-made opinions that help, which he calls the shadow government, achieve their ends of global domination. It is safe to say that the shadow government Bernays refers to could very easily be called “the deep state.” For what else would a deep state, or a shadow government do except take advantage of public sentiment for their own purposes?  Americans must come to understand that there has been a massive effort to understand their political attitudes so that they could be guided in a desired direction since the 1930s. It largely started after the War of the Worlds radio broadcast. A massive study took place seeking to determine why so many people believed it.  It was concluded that people’s faith in media and the perception that they are the upholders of truth, guided so many people’s behavior that day.

“Such rare occurrences provide opportunities for social scientists to study mass behavior. They must be exploited when they come. Although the social scientist, unfortunately, cannot usually predict such situations and have his tools of investigation ready to analyze the phenomenon while it is still on the wing, he can begin his work before the effects of the crisis are over and memories are blurred. The situation created by the broadcast was one that shows us how the common man reacts in a time of stress and strain. It gives us insights into his intelligence, his anxieties, and his needs, which we could never get by tests or strictly experimental studies. The panic situation we have investigated had all the flavor of everyday life and, at the same time, provided a semi-experimental condition for research. In spite of the unique conditions giving rise to this particular panic, the writer has attempted to indicate throughout the study the pattern of the circumstances which, from a psychological point of view, might make this the prototype of any panic.” (Cantril, 1940)

This shows that since at least 1938, our reactions to media messages have been under the limelight, as social scientists study them so that they can learn to manipulate them in their favor. This is what Joost Meerloo meant, when he said in Rape of the Mind, that “at this very moment, elaborate research into motivation is going on, whose aim is to find out why and what the buyer likes to buy. What makes him tick.” You can very easily replace the word buy with accept. They are looking at how to get you to accept what you may otherwise reject. He also states that “communication specialists and public-opinion engineers, have concluded through decades of study that propaganda can be successful in creating any perception, while also providing the illusion that people are freely choosing their own opinions.” Americans should take this to heart when it comes to politics. This is a study that is still ongoing and becoming more sophisticated by the day. People’s obsession with, and in many cases, addiction to social media is making it easy for public opinion engineers to get a firm grasp on the public’s opinions of political and social issues. Unbeknownst to many, these opinions are being studied and fed back to the public in a way that makes it easy for the political elite to control and shape their opinion. How do they do this? By creating psychological profiles based on what is or isn’t liked on social media.

A study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, for short, shows how this is done. Entitled “Psychological Targeting as an Effective Approach to Digital Mass Persuasion,” the study details how psychological profiles of not only individuals but groups as well, are created by tracking digital footprints on social sites like Facebook, for example. Readers should take note of the very first sentence in the first paragraph. To me, this is very telling and expands beyond the issue of left vs. right in politics. These bounds do not exist to these people as it is highly likely the attitudes and opinions that exist on the left and right are themselves, manifestations of propaganda aimed at keeping our thoughts, as Meerloo states in Rape of the Mind, in a place that is “confined to a narrow, totalitarian concept of the world.” What this essentially means, and I know there are those out there who understand this concept, is it doesn’t matter if you love Trump or Biden, both are useful to the completion of the globalist’s agenda. Anyway, the first sentence of the study in question states that “persuasive communications are aimed at encouraging large groups of people to believe and act on the communicator’s viewpoint.” I have written a great deal on persuasion. The elaboration likelihood model, for example, is used to examine people’s ability to comprehend and think deeply about a message. Principles like fear-then-relief suggest that people are easily persuadable if put into a state of fear, then having that stimulus deliberately removed. Studies have consistently shown that it is in that state of relief that people become mindlessly compliant. Another thing readers should take note of when reading this study is that it states “persuasive communication is particularly effective when tailored to people’s unique psychological characteristics and motivations,” which they refer to as psychological persuasion. Compare that to what Bernays said in his book, about society’s beliefs being taken advantage of to produce artificial reactions on demand. This is what it means to be propagandized in today’s world.

The nature of this study revolved around something we all know is taking place. How many of you have had a conversation with someone then suddenly that topic appears in your Facebook feed as an ad of some sort? What is happening is that social researchers are learning that people’s opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and even buying habits can be influenced by tailoring advertising to meet the specifications of an individual’s social media psychological profile. The research pertaining to this particular study was limited to lab studies, and the authors admit a limitation to being able to apply it to a worldwide scenario. There have been others, however, that have taken place in real time, and were used to manipulate and guide opinions and behavior. One called Persuasion amidst a Pandemic: Insights from the Elaboration Likelihood Model, highlights how social media attitudes towards vaccines and mask mandates during the Covid-19 pandemic were manipulated by infiltrating online groups and studying their beliefs. These beliefs were then re-framed and fed back to the public in a way that induced greater compliance with the overall agenda. Another study entitled, “Does Party Trump Ideology? Disentangling Party and Ideology in America,” examined Republican loyalty to Trump by having him present a minimum wage proposal from both a right and left-wing perspective. They discovered that Republicans accepted Trump’s proposal simply because it was coming from Trump. This is the nature of the new propaganda my friends. It is my contention that Trump’s “take the guns first, go to court later” comments, while he was sitting right next to Diane Feinstein, was also a deliberate attempt to see how far left they could push the Republican electorate. Imagine their surprise when so many responded to that with ridiculous claims of 4D chess and fake news.

They employ these same tactics when it comes to political campaigning as well. No matter who your favorite candidate is, whether you are a liberal or a conservative, they are all using these techniques to gauge public opinions and use them to create specifically tailored ads to target potential voters. Both Trump and Obama employed Cambridge Analytica to data mine information on potential voters to do exactly that. Gauge their attitudes and the things they thought were important, so tailor-made ads can be fed back to them to influence voting behavior. This is how they manufacture consent and create popular perceptions. Was Trump really America’s savior, or were we just part of a grand experiment to see what we could be made to believe? The evidence, when studied thoroughly, tends to shift in favor of the latter, I am afraid. It doesn’t necessarily prove I am right. There is no doubt, however, that there is a massive effort to understand our political motivations and use the techniques of persuasion to try to shift our attitudes in a way that aids the globalist agenda.  That can not be refuted. It is my opinion, that everyone, no matter how slick their presentation, and no matter how their values may align with yours, should be questioned and viewed with an air of skepticism because of this fact. In my opinion, it is imperative to study what they know about our behavior, and how to manipulate it to their ends. They have been doing this for nearly one hundred years. Some people may question this in light of what we are seeing concerning the boycotts of Budlight and Target, for example. People are rejecting the message of transgenderism, for sure. These reactions are just as much under the microscope as any of them are, and will be used in the future to sway political opinion one way or the other.

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