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How to confuse a moral compass

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posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 05:21 PM
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All quoted material in this post is from the source article at Nature.


People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report today in PLoS ONE1.




In this experiment, researchers first asked participants a number of survey questions on current events issues, such as the Middle East or abortion. Then, participants were asked to discuss their answers. However, prior to discussion and unbeknownst to the survey participants, key portions of the questions were reversed with a clever trick to result in answers that were the opposite of those the participants had selected. For example:


Two statements in every hidden set had been reworded to mean the opposite of the original statements. For example, if the top statement read, “Large-scale governmental surveillance of e-mail and Internet traffic ought to be forbidden as a means to combat international crime and terrorism,” the word ‘forbidden’ was replaced with ‘permitted’ in the hidden statement.


The results were eye-opening:


Participants were then asked to read aloud three of the statements, including the two that had been altered, and discuss their responses.

About half of the participants did not detect the changes, and 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements.

People were even willing to argue in favour of the reversed statements: A full 53% of participants argued unequivocally for the opposite of their original attitude in at least one of the manipulated statements, the authors write.
Hall and his colleagues have previously reported this effect, called 'choice blindness', in other areas, including taste and smell and aesthetic choice.


Think about that for a minute. This isn't merely a case of people not paying close enough attention, or even forgetting what they had answered. People were actually willing to argue in favor of stances that were the exact opposite of those they had originally held. It is as if you tell me "government survaliece is bad" and then a few minutes later I say (falsely): "But you said you thought it was good," and then you say: "Oh yeah, it is good" and proceed to argue the case as to why it's good.

Are people really this morally flabby and weak-minded about important issues? Tell you what, that's a rhetorical question.

The conclusions are depressing, or perhaps chilling:


The possibility of using the technique as a means of moral persuasion is “intriguing”, says Liane Young, a psychologist at Boston College in Massachusetts. “These findings suggest that if I'm fooled into thinking that I endorse a view, I'll do the work myself to come up with my own reasons [for endorsing it],” she says.


With the people so easy to manipulate, is it any wonder that TPTB does so so broadly and enthusiastically? Seems like people are practically begging for it.




posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 05:31 PM
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Thats just like saying to someone,

"What colour is this paper?"

"White"

"What colour is an albino?"

"White"

"What colour is this paper?"

"White"

"What colour is an albino?"

"White"

"What do cows drink?"

"Milk"

aha.
edit on 25-9-2012 by Sinny because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by Sinny
 


It's a bit more serious than that, unfortunately.

Cows do drink milk, at least when young. A closer analogy might be if after all that, I told you that you had been really been answering "syrup-colored" and not "white" all along, and you agreed and ended up arguing why cows drink coca-cola.

The fact that people can be made to argue not just for a different opinion than the one they originally came out with but for an opposite opinion is particularly worrisome.


edit on 9/25/2012 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 06:00 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 

The PTB and the Ad Execs have known about these kinds of things for a longgg time now

This is an interesting documentary worth watching imo,




posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 08:00 PM
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reply to post by NewAgeMan
 


Thanks for posting that. I watched the Centruy of the Self a few years ago and I can state its one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.

I encourage anyone interested in mind manipulation, mass psychology, etc. to check out the full series, although it runs quite long.



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