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Propaganda and Personality

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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27 July 2019 09:59
 

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

[ Edited: 27 July 2019 10:04 by Jb8989]
 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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27 July 2019 11:09
 

I think that being part of an internet group, sharing Likes and Dislikes, Tweets and news reports does have a normative effect: certain words will create a unified response from members of the group.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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27 July 2019 11:22
 

It’s just tapping into what is already there. People think they are so much greater then they are when really we are mostly petty, shallow and superficial and even science is biased by this. We love groups and tribes and most people spend most of their time and energy jockeying for status and position in, well, everything, and now all you have to do it post shit and click buttons for instant gratification, prefect for petty, shallow and superficial humans.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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27 July 2019 12:46
 

I was watching a Netflix documentary last night, called “The Great Hack.”

It follows David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design, as he tries to retrieve data about himself from Facebook. This opens the door to explore the entire “data mining” process which all of us are subjected to, whether we want to be or not.

In its explorations, the documentary covers the workings of Cambridge Analytica, a data company gun-for-hire, that used the mined data from Facebook to lead both the Trump campaign, and simultaneously, the pro-Brexit campaign, to victory.

It’s a fascinating and nauseating story.

Cambridge Analytica sent to Facebook users, a free “personality test,” which many people must have responded to. They took these responses and carried out a detailed psychological categorization of voters and their geographic locations. In the US, they focused specifically on people who lived in the so-called “battle ground” states — states that could have gone equally for Trump or Clinton.

After analyzing the data, only a small group of Facebook users were targeted for manipulation by Cambridge Analytica. That’s all it takes to strong arm the fate of a democracy  — a small, quantified, personality group — to be bombarded mercilessly with biased, fear-based, emotionally charged and lying ads. A group targeted to be bombarded by propaganda, in other words. These ads were designed to vanish after being viewed, leaving no trace of their existence behind.

And, as we all know, it worked splendidly.

 

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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27 July 2019 18:37
 

People lean into their own biases, and with echo-chamber self-filtering of content, the often find themselves avoiding dissenting views.
This may be why disagreement while remaining civil seems to be on a decline in general society.

 
 
GAD
 
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27 July 2019 19:09
 
Jefe - 27 July 2019 06:37 PM

People lean into their own biases, and with echo-chamber self-filtering of content, the often find themselves avoiding dissenting views.
This may be why disagreement while remaining civil seems to be on a decline in general society.

Disagreement while remaining civil doesn’t get anyone want they want, it’s just pissing in the wind.  The power to project their views onto others it what people want and have always wanted, it just easier now with modern tools.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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28 July 2019 07:51
 
Twissel - 27 July 2019 11:09 AM

I think that being part of an internet group, sharing Likes and Dislikes, Tweets and news reports does have a normative effect: certain words will create a unified response from members of the group.

I agree. I also think that expectations for quick responses conducive to search criteria is slowly turning into an expectation that your phone knows you enough to adapt to your data identity. Like a standard for oughts.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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28 July 2019 07:54
 
GAD - 27 July 2019 11:22 AM

It’s just tapping into what is already there. People think they are so much greater then they are when really we are mostly petty, shallow and superficial and even science is biased by this. We love groups and tribes and most people spend most of their time and energy jockeying for status and position in, well, everything, and now all you have to do it post shit and click buttons for instant gratification, prefect for petty, shallow and superficial humans.

Perfect for Big Brother.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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28 July 2019 07:57
 
Cheshire Cat - 27 July 2019 12:46 PM

I was watching a Netflix documentary last night, called “The Great Hack.”

It follows David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design, as he tries to retrieve data about himself from Facebook. This opens the door to explore the entire “data mining” process which all of us are subjected to, whether we want to be or not.

In its explorations, the documentary covers the workings of Cambridge Analytica, a data company gun-for-hire, that used the mined data from Facebook to lead both the Trump campaign, and simultaneously, the pro-Brexit campaign, to victory.

It’s a fascinating and nauseating story.

Cambridge Analytica sent to Facebook users, a free “personality test,” which many people must have responded to. They took these responses and carried out a detailed psychological categorization of voters and their geographic locations. In the US, they focused specifically on people who lived in the so-called “battle ground” states — states that could have gone equally for Trump or Clinton.

After analyzing the data, only a small group of Facebook users were targeted for manipulation by Cambridge Analytica. That’s all it takes to strong arm the fate of a democracy  — a small, quantified, personality group — to be bombarded mercilessly with biased, fear-based, emotionally charged and lying ads. A group targeted to be bombarded by propaganda, in other words. These ads were designed to vanish after being viewed, leaving no trace of their existence behind.

And, as we all know, it worked splendidly.

Sounds like I gotta check it out. Overreaction is a type of manipulation that’s concerning. Numbed out lows on the other end of the spectrum.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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28 July 2019 08:42
 
Jefe - 27 July 2019 06:37 PM

People lean into their own biases, and with echo-chamber self-filtering of content, the often find themselves avoiding dissenting views.
This may be why disagreement while remaining civil seems to be on a decline in general society.

Propaganda, discreditation, harming corporate or political competitors, improving personal or brand reputation and plain ole’ trollin are things we’ve become accustom. I’m wondering whether in addition user predictability, if we’re also creating a more uniform batch of user personalities, by way of manipulating expectations, motivations and emotions in very specific ways. For example, if the codes that know us best are also responsible for distracting us the most.

[ Edited: 28 July 2019 08:52 by Jb8989]
 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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28 July 2019 08:51
 

Yup, we all struggle with biases. Yup, propaganda is extremely powerful.

But I refuse to believe that propaganda is unstoppable. (Perhaps that’s one of my biases.)

 
 
Jefe
 
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28 July 2019 08:57
 
Jb8989 - 28 July 2019 08:42 AM

I’m wondering whether in addition user predictability, if we’re also creating a more uniform batch of user personalities, by way of manipulating expectations, motivations and emotions in very specific ways. For example, if the codes that know us best are also responsible for distracting us the most.

Quite possibly.  The internet+social-media+smart devices are a great conditioning device that reward us for ‘approved interactions’.  (Sometimes subconsciously self-approved, even…)

When that little ‘bell’ rings, or the numbers in the ‘red-circle’ increase, we get the same sort of positive-feedback reward that Pavlov used to induce salivation in his small canine companion.  It might even be as addictive as video games, dancing, and eating pop-rocks outside of the bodega.

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/

Imagine, if you will, a US Nationalist, reading a face-book meme that agrees with his/her outlook.  And seeing several thousand ‘likes’ and then commenting on that meme, and getting reinforced multiple times throughout the day as other US Nationalists prop up their comment with ‘likes’ and ‘agreeable replies’.  It’s like a little shot of dopamine every few minutes/hours/seconds.

Scooby-snacks got nothing on social media.

[ Edited: 28 July 2019 09:04 by Jefe]
 
 
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28 July 2019 09:04
 
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Is this homogenization good or bad?  Desirable or undesirable?  Also, I’m not sure what you are getting at in the whole OP.  Are you looking for a value judgement, or asking if the internet is having an effect on our lives, or what?

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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28 July 2019 10:20
 
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Could it be that marketing techniques have vastly improved since the times when print and broadcast advertising started?

John, I ask you because you’ve been in the thick of these kinds of things, even if not exactly in a business sense. How drastically have marketing techniques benefitted as a result of an ever-increasing commercial purview within cognitive science and psychology?

(Shout-out to Mr. Mueller’s word-choice!)

 
 
burt
 
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28 July 2019 15:31
 
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Doris Lessing, Prisons We Chose to Live Inside.

Be aware that likely 80% of your closest friends, under the right conditions, would drag you from your bed and string you up on the nearest tree.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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29 July 2019 10:52
 

To burt’s point, in East Germany under the Communists there was one member of the STASI for every 216 citizens.  Each STASI field operative had enough informants for there to be one informant for every six citizens.  That’s 16% of citizens actively repressing their neighbors for the benefit of the just state, and the question is, as I see it: how many inactive ones nevertheless embraced the Communist utopian vision?  Two more?  Three?  Did half the people go along with this “social justice”—for that’s exactly how they saw it: social justice in the name of the oppressed proletariat.  Or did more?  That state propaganda was essential to holding this activist body together is indisputable, but what I find more fascinating than the technical method of the message (i.e. digital versus television versus radio) is the fact that the message finds so many willing believers.  Terror is rightly seen as the necessary mechanism for the totalitarian utopias that have wrecked havoc the 20th century, but what’s often overlooked is that this necessary mechanism has sufficiency conditions in consentSomeone has to believe in order to enforce, and the rather horrifying implication is that so many do believe.  So, to the OP’s point about homogeneity as well, is there something about being homogeneous that compels people to believe?  Is there something about being one-with-all that misfires in these utopian visions that end up being a human rights horror show, all in the name of the oppressed?  What is it about fighting for the oppressed that mobilizes so many believers to do almost anything to support the totalitarian state as the sole means of rectification? 

As a related question bearing more directly on the question raised in the OP, does the spread of the information nervous system in the digital age increase the danger of this misfiring?  Are we in especial danger now?

 
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