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Back You are here: Home Columns Weekly Columns For Your Consideration For Your Consideration: Straight Talk Part IV

For Your Consideration: Straight Talk Part IV

Contributing Writer

It’s impossible to give an in depth comprehensive presentation of the various methods utilized to manipulate an individual’s behavior, regretfully most psychologist don’t find it financially rewarding to provide the individual with information that
would enable the individual to resist the techniques being employed to induce a given behavior that is not necessarily beneficial to the individual.
There are actions that can be utilized to reduce the influence of many of the methods that are utilized by the manipulators, some of these
methods are known to a large portion of the population, but for some reason they are not a part of the individual’s automatic protective mechanism.
One good example of this is the fact that most people know that they cannot take the sales pitch for some product as being factual, but for some reason this knowledge is not in the forefront of their mind when they are listening or reading about a product that sounds like it may
be useful to them. It’s likely that the reason for this is that the sales pitch has used the correct amount of visceral terminology which activates an emotional response
that tends to block the rational evaluative functions, which functions at a higher cognitive level than the visceral response.
The way to approach this problem is to train yourself to hold your behavioral reaction in check until you have given your higher evaluative functions a chance to review the information from a rational perspective.
Just knowing that a preponderance of the information is of a visceral quality should be enough to switch to the higher rational evaluative level to process the information.
Most behavioral modification falls within the realm of visceral information; the individual is receiving this form of information almost constantly throughout the day.
The implementation of visceral information does not just rely on the spoken of written word, it also employs visual and auditory elements to increase the impact of the message.
The messages are also designed to elicit a response from some very basic emotions that exist within all individuals.
The messaging can be simple or very complex; it can be designed to illicit a positive of negative reaction or behavior. The presentation can be enhanced by repetition and variation of the theme’s message. The individual need not be overly concerned with the variety of forms that are used to influence behavior or thinking, it is sufficient to acknowledge the fact that the message is being used to activate a visceral change in thinking or behavior. It would be a mistake to think that this manipulation is only occurring in the commercial realm, it’s used extensively in the political arena and by the government, regardless of the party in power.
It can be really harmful if the message is designed to evoke a negative reaction that is not justified, something that happens far too frequently. To some people it may be more offensive if the government is employing this manipulative technique to satisfy some goal that is not beneficial to the individual, but advances some ulterior objective that satisfies the government’s plan; this action is objectionable at a number of levels. If this is viewed from a financial aspect, the government is taking money from the taxpayer and using it to initiate programs or plans that have the potential of being harmful to large portions of the population, to one degree or another.
The individual needs to be more cognizant of this type of messaging and learn to look beyond the visceral aspects of the message, especially when the message has the potential of restricting the individual’s freedom or causes a loss of an essential component that’s needed to sustain an individual’s wellbeing. There are other actions that can be taken to lessen the use of visceral messaging; these will be presented in the next Straight Talk.