You are right to feel that something is not right.
You are right to feel that you are being manipulated.
Behavioural Science is a field of psychology used to change behaviour and views by influencing and nudging the unconscious mind. Teams are engaged by governments and institutions globally with the prime purpose of altering your decisions and behaviours.
But you can break the chains and set your decision-making free.
Ethics Statement for the “Breaking the Chains” Campaigns
There has been a concerted effort, through governments and organisations globally, to implement a campaign of fear amongst the population. Propaganda and behavioural science tools have been weaponized to influence people at a conscious and unconscious level. Specific narratives have been executed to establish a global culture of irrational fear, blame, compliance, conformity, collectivism, scapegoating and a distrust of data coming from non-government sanctioned sources. Censorship and denigration of both individuals and data – even government sourced, is deemed unacceptable if not aligned with narratives being amplified by mainstream media, social media platforms and TV programming.
We believe this is wrong.
The PANDA Counter Psyops team consists of behavioural scientists, psychologists, public health experts, educationalists, social workers, and other professionals, who have created a body of work that brings conscious thought to areas where there may be inconsistency of values and beliefs. Our ethical position is clear. We seek only to use the insights of behavioural science to guide the reader or listener toward a state of active questioning and critical thinking. This is achieved firstly through the challenge of belief and value systems via the lens of pandemic images and narratives that have been repetitively executed through various mediums since early 2020, and secondly through revealing the various techniques used to influence our behaviour
It is not our role to provide a counter narrative. That is for each individual to determine through their own journey and the use of active questioning, consideration and evaluation. The purpose of all our work is to promote an awareness of any misalignment between an individual’s core values or moral position and that of their behaviour or thinking during Covid. We hope that this will then encourage them to consider actively why that might be. What the individual does with that cognitive engagement is their choice.
The principles that guide us are:
- Do no Harm. We will not create work that is targeted to increase fear. We believe that fear, particularly in the long term, is detrimental to mental and physical wellbeing.
- Transparency. Our work is hosted on our website and will be available for all to view and identify as behavioral science. In addition, the site will host “A Guide to Nudging you” which provides examples of behavioural science nudges that we hope will allow the watcher to identify manipulation and improve their decision making capability.
- Integrity. The objective of our work is to support an individual’s transition to a conscious cognitive state by targeting dissonance in people’s own underlying values and beliefs. We will never seek to nudge someone to a counter narrative. Further, we will ensure that information and data provided by PANDA are as accurate as possible and in appropriate context to support people’s ability to make informed decisions.
- Honesty. Our material will be labelled as “breaking the chains” allowing the recipient to locate the hosting internet page and all associated documents.
- Humility. We recognise that everyone’s behaviour will be influenced by inherent biases and personal experiences including our own. We respect other people’s point of view and do not assume we know what is in their best interest. We believe in each individual to make their own decisions.
- Autonomy and Agency. We believe that people should always have control over their own lives and decisions that impact them, great and small. We believe this is fundamental to individual wellbeing and societal function. Our work seeks to elicit conscious thought so that individuals are fully engaged in behaviour and decision-making that impacts their current and future selves.
- Governance. Our material is reviewed and approved via a team to ensure that it adheres to our principles.
Governments and organisations worldwide have used short media videos comprehensively to push messages of fear and compliance. By using these videos to illustrate the level of manipulation that is being orchestrated, you can become more aware of it and future propaganda.
When this video was released in March 2021, the original version hosted on YouTube had 4.9k likes and 17k dislikes. Perhaps there were many out there with whom this message jarred. Perhaps it was their unconscious processes telling them this video did not feel honest, did not feel sincere.
The Covid-19 pandemic and everything associated with it has become highly polarised. It has forced many to take strong positions on how they feel, entrenching them into belief structures.
In the case of Group Identity, the drive to create a group (and therefore an out-group) is derived from our evolution for survival which was improved by the assimilation into groups “like us” that would accept us, and improved our ability to quickly identify those who were not. This is a parable for now.
We are constantly bombarded with information – and emotion – from all corners. Everywhere we look, there is someone trying to persuade us to buy a product, elect a candidate, or go to war. How, in this environment, can we maintain and strengthen our psychological integrity? How can we ‘free our minds’ and resist the endless nudges, pokes, and shoves on our psyche?
Behavioural Scientist Patrick Fagan speaks in PANDA’s Open Society Session on “How not to be nudged”