Why We are Susceptible to Manipulation

Washington's Blog
Monday, February 22, 2010

Biologists and sociologists tell us that our brains evolved in small groups or tribes.

As one example of how profoundly the small-group environment affected our brains, Daily Galaxy points out:

Research shows that one of the most powerful ways to stimulate more buying is celebrity endorsement. Neurologists at Erasmus University in Rotterdam report that our ability to weigh desirability and value doesn’t function normally if an item is endorsed by a well-known face. This lights up the brain’s dorsal claudate nucleus, which is involved in trust and learning. Areas linked to longer-term memory storage also fire up. Our minds overidentify with celebrities because we evolved in small tribes. If you knew someone, then they knew you. If you didn’t attack each other, you were probably pals.

Our minds still work this way, giving us the idea that the celebs we keep seeing are our acquaintances. And we want to be like them, because we’ve evolved to hate being out of the in-crowd. Brain scans show that social rejection activates brain areas that generate physical pain, probably because in prehistory tribal exclusion was tantamount to a death sentence. And scans by the National Institute of Mental Health show that when we feel socially inferior, two brain regions become more active: the insula and the ventral striatum. The insula is involved with the gut-sinking sensation you get when you feel that small. The ventral striatum is linked to motivation and reward.

In small groups, we knew everyone extremely well. No one could really fool us about what type of person they were, because we had grown up interacting with them for our whole lives.

If a tribe member dressed up and pretended he was from another tribe, we would see it in a heart-beat. It would be like seeing your father in a costume: you would recognize him pretty quickly, wouldn't you.

As the celebrity example shows, our brains can easily be fooled by people in our large modern society when we incorrectly ascribe to them the role of being someone we should trust.

As the celebrity example shows, our brains can easily be fooled by people in our large modern society when we incorrectly ascribe to them the role of being someone we should trust.

The opposite is true as well. The parts of our brain that are hard-wired to quickly recognize "outside enemies" can be fooled in our huge modern society, when it is really people we know dressed up like the "other team".
Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

Because of this hard-wiring in our brains from the days we lived in tiny tribes, we are highly susceptible to false flag attacks.

Specifically, if government agents dress up like the "other team" and stage an attack on their own country, most people's "defend the tribe" hardwiring kicks in, so they rally around their leaders and call for the heads of the "other team".

Our brains assume that we can tell truth from fiction, because they evolved in very small groups where we knew everyone extremely well, and usually could see for ourselves what was true.

On the other side of the coin, a tribal leader who talked a good game but constantly stole from and abused his group would immediately be kicked out or killed. No matter how nicely he talked, the members of the tribe would immediately see what he was doing.

But in a country of hundreds of millions of people, where the political class is shielded from the rest of the country, people don't really know what our leaders are doing with most of the time. We only see them for a couple of minutes when they are giving speeches, or appearing in photo ops, or being interviewed. It is therefore much easier for a wolf in sheep's clothing to succeed than in a small group setting.

As with the celebrity endorsement example, our brains are running programs which were developed for an environment (a small group) we no longer live in, and so lead us astray.

Like the blind spot in our rear view mirror, we have to learn to compensate and adapt for our imperfections, or we may get clobbered.

Grow Up

The good news is that we can evolve.

While our brains have many built-in hardwired ways of thinking and processing information, they are also amazingly "plastic". We can learn and evolve and overcome our hardwiring - or at least compensate for our blind spots.

We are not condemned to being led astray by Madison Avenue advertisers and ruthless dictators and scientific frauds and fundamentalists.

We can choose to grow up as a species and reclaim our power to decide our own future.


The power of persuasion...

All the accumulated scientific knowledge about the susceptibilities of the human being, the way our brains work and how much we can be 'led astray' has been used by governments and government agencies for years. Marketers and advertisers have also successfully employed and deployed techniques based on these human traits. For example, how the public is constantly lied into starting wars is a glorified sales pitch by people in whom we have placed our trust, and, rather than question "our celebrity friends" in DC, we tend to believe what they say according to our hardwired defaults (comfort zone). The recent documentary film "War Made Easy" illustrates such very clearly. Together with the results of the Solomon Asch and Milgram experiments of decades ago, which demonstrated our individual and collective susceptibility to obeying "perceived authority", the powers-that-be (with the mainstream media firmly in lockstep) have a formidable arsenal of psychological weaponry at their disposal... and so often, their greatest helpers are those against whom their campaigns are directed...ie us! Hitler, when he allegedly said "what luck for rulers than men do not think" was also clearly aware of these psychological traits.

For the planners and executors of the 9/11 attacks, "mass psychological persuasion" was a major factor in determining the feasibility of pulling off such an attack without being "rumbled". Our tendency to believe the pronouncements of authority via the celebrity-driven corporate-media allowed the planners of 9/11 a large amount of "wiggle room", as regards "how many things could go wrong, how many mistakes could be made" without blowing it. And that is exactly what did happen...lots of mistakes were made, but it was only a very small minority who picked up on them from the get go.

There is about a 23% proportion (in any society of people) who always tend to believe in authority, no matter what. At the other end, there is a percentage of the population who are not such an easy walk-over. But its the 50% or so that fall into the middle ground re. the psychological "susceptibility" factor of that we *must* win over. Or else.....

The power of persuasion...

oops... double posted

$ippery $chemers vs those about honor and justice...

This film....long...is about the interwoven ugliness of the manipulation and the power to keep us in check. Well worth the time spent. The whistleblower NOT given justice..


The most severe form of learning disorders are owned by those that "already know everything."

Grove, the whistleblower

FWIW, I remember reading an article by the whistleblower in the video, Richard Andrew Grove, in which he described how he narrowly missed being at the WTC when they were struck on 9/11, as he was then working on contracts for clients who had offices there. He said he was on his way there that morning but still in traffic when the planes struck.

I am currently

in the process of working on such an article exploring how psychological research and ideas could be explored for campaigning purposes.

Came to think of

'The Science of Persuasion' - article in Scientific American
How to persuade 'the world' that the official 9/11-story is a HOAX'! ...
and 'Derren Brown - Subliminal Advertising':

hmmm - I think we can justify using some of those trix' - no? getting complicated ...

Never give the ones against us, anything to bite on

Those kinds of arts are not a good characteristic to have in a movement. Let's not forget the honor in which, Richard, Steven, Dwain, and the bunch operate by. Direct, honest, professional., courageous Just posting such a suggestion does not help us. Although, think it would be worth studying for the sake of being resistant to the perps' many dirty tricks.

What's with Charlie Sheen, by the way? I don't trust much anymore. I trust him actually, but one can't help but wonder about the details not told. He and his wife, in Aspen, at home........? Anyone have the scoop? Boy, wouldn't they love to delegitimize him, the PTB, perps I mean..

The most severe form of learning disorders are owned by those that "already know everything."

We don't really know much

about what really happened behind the scenes with his personal life or his wife. Nor should we. While I agree that his situation could be spun by the corporate media to make him look unreliable, I would say the Charlie has been a friend of 911 truth and we should respect his privacy and give him the benefit of the doubt.