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Political psychology

Sep 23,2019 - Last updated at Sep 23,2019

How would you convince people to act in a manner which would support a certain political decision? Do you become a populist where you make the constituency look at the context rather than the content? Or would you choose to be Machiavellian, believing in the extrovertial application of “the ends justify the means”? Or do you go about it as a straight shooter where you lay down the facts as they are, and let people cope with them?

The famous scandal about the research operations conducted by “Cambridge Britannica” still resonates with the US general public. By accessing users’ accounts on Facebook and tapping their respective likes and dislikes, Cambridge Britannica used that wealth of information to provide certain candidates with information about peoples’ main concerns, hopes, fears and complaints. They also chose the right nomenclature which would allow the candidate using it to look familiarly likable.

Behavioural sciences are not only used during elections, but by politicians and traders to sell something to the public. People, according to behavioural scientists, are not always rational, actually most of the time they are not. They prefer “the more expensive easy” over the less expensive, elaborate forms like tax forms.They also buy a brand-name product for double the price of the same generic good, and so on.

Neurology is now being used to influence people’s decisions. In February 2019, Harvard Business Review issued a special edition on business issues related to neurology. The fascinating survey revealed how understanding the detailed anatomy of the human brain and interaction with the external environment are related.

The issue covered new ideas like neuromarketing, enhancement of creative and innovative thinking, helping companies strategise in changing ecosystems, etc. If we can reach a stage where we can manipulate people’s behaviour outside laboratories, then we are gradually moving to be robots.

If medicine develops to treat humans as machines, especially with the breakthrough advances in creating 3D human organs, then we will be entitled, as humans, to depreciation allowance for tax purposes.

Yet, man’s genius for life will help him establish a countervailing arrangement to offset attempts at controlling his emotions and responses.

This is not a sci-fi art imitating life, this is life as we know it. How will we be in 2084?

168 users have voted.


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