16 basic principles of mass indoctrination

Source: 16 basic principles of mass indoctrination

Aspie Savant

Sep 10, 2015


1. Start while they’re young.


2. Create the illusion of political freedom.


3. Use simplistic stereotypes to sway public opinion.

4. Mix facts with lies.


5. A big lie is more convincing than a small lie.


6. Give the masses “bread and circuses” to keep them well-fed and distracted.


7. Simplify complex issues by portraying them as dichotomies. Eliminate nuance.


8. Spread propaganda by all means possible.


9. Ostracize dissident voices through ridicule or defamation.


10. Faith in the correctness of a religion or ideology is more powerful than force.


11. Manipulate history records to support your religion or ideology.


12. Control different sides of the same debate and you control the outcome.

13. The masses are less swayed by reason than by stirring their emotions.

14. Drive the opposition in a corner. When they fight back, act like a victim.


15. Label all non-conformistic behavior as pathological and promote “cures” for them.


16. Use rituals and mass events to keep people occupied and strengthen their faith.

How the Brain Separates Relevant and Irrelevant Information


Researchers have developed a new theory that outlines how the brain separates relevant from irrelevant information.

Source: How the Brain Separates Relevant and Irrelevant Information


Imagine yourself sitting in a noisy café trying to read. To focus on the book at hand, you need to ignore the surrounding chatter and clattering of cups, with your brain filtering out the irrelevant stimuli coming through your ears and “gating” in the relevant ones in your vision—words on a page.

In a new paper in the journal Nature Communications, New York University researchers offer a new theory, based on a computational model, on how the brain separates relevant from irrelevant information in these and other circumstances.

“It is critical to our everyday life that our brain processes the most important information out of everything presented to us,” explains Xiao-Jing Wang, Global Professor of Neural Science at NYU and NYU Shanghai and the paper’s senior author. “Within an extremely complicated neural circuit in the brain, there must be a gating mechanism to route relevant information to the right place at the right time.”

The analysis focuses on inhibitory neurons—the brain’s traffic cops that help ensure proper neurological responses to incoming stimuli by suppressing other neurons and working to balance excitatory neurons, which aim to stimulate neuronal activity.

“Our model uses a fundamental element of the brain circuit, involving multiple types of inhibitory neurons, to achieve this goal,” Wang adds. “Our computational model shows that inhibitory neurons can enable a neural circuit to gate in specific pathways of information while filtering out the rest.”

In their analysis, led by Guangyu Robert Yang, a doctoral candidate in Wang’s lab, the researchers devised a model that maps out a more complicated role for inhibitory neurons than had previously been suggested.

Of particular interest to the team was a specific subtype of inhibitory neurons that targets the excitatory neurons’ dendrites—components of a neuron where inputs from other neurons are located. These dendrite-targeting inhibitory neurons are labeled by a biological marker called somatostatin and can be studied selectively by experimentalists. The researchers proposed that they not only control the overall inputs to a neuron, but also the inputs from individual pathways—for example, the visual or auditory pathways converging onto a neuron.

This was thought to be difficult because the connections from inhibitory neurons to excitatory neurons appeared dense and unstructured,” observes Yang. “Thus a surprising finding from our study is that the precision required for pathway-specific gating can be realized by inhibitory neurons.”

The study’s authors used computational models to show that even with the seemingly random connections, these dendrite-targeting neurons can gate individual pathways by aligning with excitatory inputs through different pathways. They showed that this alignment can be realized through synaptic plasticity—a brain mechanism for learning through experience.




The study’s other co-author was John David Murray, a postdoctoral researcher at the time of the work and now an assistant professor at Yale University.

Funding: The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health (R01MH062349) and the Office of Naval Research (N00014-13-1-0297).

Source: James Devitt – NYU
Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research:Full open access research for “A dendritic disinhibitory circuit mechanism for pathway-specific gating” by Guangyu Robert Yang, John D. Murray and Xiao-Jing Wang in Nature Communications. Published online September 20 2016 doi:10.1038/ncomms12815

Study: We understand that social media does not equal social interaction | PsyPost

Source: Study: We understand that social media does not equal social interaction | PsyPost

BY ON AUGUST 11, 2016

If you worry that people today are using social media as a crutch for a real social life, a University of Kansas study will set you at ease.

Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies, found that people are actually quite adept at discerning the difference between using social media and having an honest-to-goodness social interaction. The results of his studies appear in the journal New Media & Society.

“There is a tendency to equate what we do on social media as if it is social interaction, but that does not reflect people’s actual experience using it,” Hall said. “All of this worry that we’re seeking out more and more social interaction on Facebook is not true. Most interactions are face to face, and most of what we consider social interaction is face to face.”

According to Hall, social media is more like old-fashioned people-watching. “Liking” something is similar to a head nod. It’s not social interaction, but it’s acknowledging you are sharing space with someone else.

“Keeping tabs on other people sharing our social spaces is normal and part of what it means to be human,” Hall said.

Hall is no stranger to research on social media. New Media & Society published an earlier study of his that found people can accurately detect the personality traits of strangers through Facebook activity.

In his current paper in the journal, Hall details three studies. The first demonstrates that when using social media, most of us are engaged in passive behaviors that we don’t consider social interaction, like browsing others’ profiles and reading news articles.

The second diary study demonstrates that most of what we consider social interaction with people in our close circle of friends happens face to face. When interaction with these close others is through social media, it’s not something passive like browsing or “liking” but rather using chat or instant message functions.

Here’s where it gets interesting, Hall said. The first study found that chatting and commenting — things that we would even consider social interaction — are but 3.5 percent of our time on social media.

The third study had participants contacted at random times throughout the day. This study drives home how adept we are at separating social media use with social interaction. People reported 98 percent of their social interactions took some other way than through social media.

“Although people often socially interact and use social media in the same time period, people understand they are different things,” Hall said. “People feel a sense of relatedness when they’re interacting face to face, but using social media does not make them feel connected.”

All three studies, Hall said, circle around the idea that we still value face-to-face time with close others for the purpose of talking.

“If we want to have a conversation, we’re not using social media to do it,” he said.

The findings speak to a broader anxiety that many still have regarding social media.

“There’s a worry that people are seeking out more and more social interactions on Facebook and that social media is taking over our face-to-face time,” Hall said. “I’m saying, ‘Not so fast.’ People use social media to people-watch and still seem to enjoy a good face-to-face conversation.”


What Is a Constant Cycle of Violent News Doing to Us?


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Nothing good. Experts suggested limiting your exposure to violent imagery and social media.

Source: What Is a Constant Cycle of Violent News Doing to Us?

How Computers are Learning to Be Creative

TED Talk by Blaise Aguera y Arcas

We’re on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity — and it’s not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them. The results: spectacular, hallucinatory collages (and poems!) that defy categorization. “Perception and creativity are very intimately connected,” Agüera y Arcas says. “Any creature, any being that is able to do perceptual acts is also able to create.”

Can Neuroscience Make Your Message Stickier?

A cutting edge technique pinpoints how our brains react to fear appeals in marketing.

Source: Can Neuroscience Make Your Message Stickier?

Several years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a national advertising campaign highlighting the grisly dangers of smoking. “Tips From Former Smokers” featured stark, disturbing imagery of real former smokers and the toll that tobacco addiction has taken on their bodies. Some had amputated fingers; others revealed a gaping hole in their throat.

The campaign successfully reduced the number of smokers. But while such fear appeals can be effective for public health, environmental awareness, or political campaigns, the method comes with both risks and limitations.

For one, overly strong fear appeals in advertising sometimes backfire, causing viewers to mentally and emotionally withdraw from the message—a phenomenon known as the “boomerang effect.” Moreover, some of the biggest risks humans face, like climate change, are very abstract in nature—and try as we might, it is hard to get people to engage at all.

But what if there was a way to avoid the boomerang effect and also persuade your audience to engage with an abstract fear?

“Most of our brain is hidden from us. … Normally, we have no access to whatever is happening under the hood.”

New research from the Kellogg School uses a cutting-edge neuroscience technique to identify the sweet spot where fear-based campaigns have the utmost impact. It finds that people can increase the level of fear they experience while watching a piece of content if they imagine a specific scary aspect of it before they start watching. This in turn increases the likelihood that content, such as an ad’s message, will register, be remembered, and potentially affect future behavior.

“If I show you an ad against drinking and driving, will that really make you do it less? We do not know,” says Moran Cerf, an assistant professor of marketing and neuroscience at the Kellogg School.

“As a start, we decided to investigate your ability to control your own experience of fear,” he says. “We wanted to see if you yourself can identify the things that will help the message influence you the most.”

Watching Brain Cells Fire

Previous neuroscience research in the area of fear control has focused extensively on studying people’s ability to reduce negative emotions. Less attention has been paid to the opposite phenomenon, a voluntary increase in negative feelings. This is likely because fear and sadness are generally undesirable and are often intense enough as is.

However, when it comes to persuading the public, increasing fear in viewers has the potential to save lives.

Cerf collaborated with Eric Greenleaf, Tom Meyvis, and Vicki Morwitz at New York University. They recorded, in real time, how frightened a person was—not by asking them but by actually eavesdropping on the inner workings of their brain using electrodes implanted in their heads. The process, called single-neuron recording, tracks the firing activity of brain cells linked to fear.

Single-neuron recording is typically used only in animals. But the technique can be used for human studies in unique situations where the research is conducted during brain surgery for epilepsy treatment.

In such a treatment, physicians surgically remove the area of the brain where seizures originate to cure patients whose epilepsy cannot be successfully treated with medication. To find the correct region on which to operate, neurosurgeons implant thin, hollow electrodes directly into the brain. A set of even thinner wires can be inserted through these electrodes to detect firing from individual neurons. The patients can then participate in research studies while they wait in the hospital for doctors to identify the exact onset source of their seizures.

“Most of our brain is hidden from us. It operates, and we see the output. Normally, we have no access to whatever is happening under the hood,” Cerf says. “Now with single-neuron techniques, we do have access.”

Single-cell recording gathers different data than other techniques like fMRI and EEG that look at brain activity—and is particularly ideal for studying feelings, says Cerf.

“What we can see when we are using single-neuron recording is how emotions are coded in the brain,” Cerf says. “We can not only see where you feel things like sadness and anger— but can also see them as they dawn on us, sometimes even earlier than your subjective experience occurs.”

Increasing Fear

In their study, Cerf and his colleagues measured fear responses in neurosurgical patients who had undergone the brain electrodes implantation. The patients watched a number of video clips, including one from Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” to test their emotional response. Climate change was deliberately chosen as it is an abstract and distant fear—something humans have difficulty imagining and feeling viscerally scared of.

Each patient watched the clip in two conditions: as they naturally would and again immediately after mentally focusing on the aspects of climate change that frighten them—like seeing loved ones hurt.

While watching the clip as they naturally would, fear-responsive neurons fired at a rate comparable to baseline levels. In other words, the subjects did not feel particularly scared. However, when they imagined specific aspects of climate change that were tailored to their own fears, the firing rate of these same neurons increased.

But critically, not all threats are created equal, and not all can be controlled. The researchers find that this tactic is most useful when addressing fears that are abstract rather than more instinctual or innate.

To demonstrate this, the researchers showed the patients another clip, one that was inherently terrifying—a large spider crawling towards the camera. Right off the bat, this clip elicited a much sharper fear response than the climate change video ever did—the type of response that might be expected to spur a boomerang effect. Asking the patients to imagine something even more frightening about spiders beforehand did not increase their fear.

Implications for Marketers

The results suggest that we can enhance fear response to an otherwise abstract threat by identifying an aspect of the threat that is particularly scary to us. Tailoring the experience around that threat makes the content more likely to be remembered as a threat, potentially allowing for a change in our behavior without enhancing the threat too much—which would cause us to recoil in disgust.

And if enough people are frightened by the same aspects of an abstract threat, it may be possible for marketers or those making public service announcements to tailor the original message accordingly.

“With the help of these patients, we actually learned what techniques and thoughts they triggered to enhance their climate-change fear,” Cerf says. “Now that we have identified the optimal ways to increase fear across individuals, we can calibrate the message to make sure an ad or a speech by Vice President Gore has a stronger effect.”

However, Cerf does not see single-neuron recording becoming a widespread method of measurement for market or consumer research any time soon, as it requires the participation of patients and a hospital’s neurosurgery department. But he thinks organizations and marketers can gain business insights from scientific studies that employ this and other neuroscience methodologies, perhaps by hiring a neuroscientist to interpret the often-impenetrable scientific literature.

“Leaders should read up on the latest discoveries in the popular press on fundamental topics like memory, persuasion, self-control, and emotion regulation—subjects that appeal to both neuroscientists and marketers,” Cerf says.

“The reason I’m at Kellogg is that there is a movement—a trend of neuroscientists who try to bridge this gap between neuroscience and marketing,” he says. “I think that we are in a state right now where neuroscience is answering a lot of the questions that marketing practitioners care about and were unable to fully address quantitatively for years. It was hard because of the difficulty of quantifying our psychology. Now, with the help of neuroscience, we can start looking at ways to break down complex psychological phenomena using tangible, testable metrics.”

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

From the BBC: The Psychological Tricks Behind Pokeman Go’s Success


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Nintendo’s latest video game has become an overnight sensation. What’s the appeal?

By Chris Baraniuk

“Basically the reason I downloaded it is because a lot of my friends in the States have been going mad for it,” says Jon Norris. “They’re quite sensible adults but they were absolutely freaking out about it.”

Norris, head of content at Brighton-based digital agency Rocketmill, is talking about Pokemon Go. It’s a new augmented reality mobile game – and it’s taking the world by storm. The title, which has been available in the US for less than a week, has racked up millions of downloads already. The app lets players track down and “catch” virtual Pokemon that appear somewhere in the world around them.

Although not yet officially available in the UK, eager players like Norris have been able to install the app via some technical workarounds. The app has not risen to fame without controversy, though. For one thing, some have raised concerns over the fact that it can have very broad access to user data – from emails to search history and Google Drive – when users give it access to their Google accounts on iOS devices.

So what is the big attraction? And could its success have been predicted?

Admissions tests

Psychologist Andrew Przybylski at the Oxford Internet Institute has studied what attributes are essential for games to have the chance of being successful. These range from whether they are pitched at the right difficulty for players to how much they build in, or foster, social interaction with others, and he thinks one important factor is the ‘barrier of admission’ to having a good time.

A crucial feature of Pokemon Go, for example, is that it relies on technologies many people have and are already familiar with – their smartphone and GPS. Contrast this with geocaching, for example, which requires a more advanced knowledge of GPS (and even an array of physical equipment).

Many of the games that have enjoyed surprisingly broad appeal in the past – from Snake to Angry Birds and many of the original Wii titles – also married highly accessible gameplay with technology that was relatively new but easy to use, adds Przybylski.

“People have already learned how to use their phones – just like they know how to use their bodies for Wii Tennis,” he explains. “The work has already been done.”

“You can dive into it very easily,” agrees Norris.

Another factor is nostalgia. While Norris, for one, never played any of the previous Pokemon games, many Pokemon Go fans have fond memories of titles dating back to 1996, when the first instalments in the series were released. Even the very fact that people are talking about Pokemon more than usual again has prompted reminiscences among some older fans.

But for Przybylski, if a game tries to use nostalgia as part of its appeal, it must also deliver on its promise of novelty and fun. Pokemon Go, at least, certainly seems to have done so for some.

“The only way to deliver fun is to have players feel confident, give them a sense of exploration and connect them socially to others – on those three very important counts, the game looks like it’s succeeded,” he says.

Indeed, Norris immediately points out an unexpected benefit of wandering around Brighton, Pokemon Go app in hand.

“All the little Pokestops [where players collect in-game items] are associated with various pieces of street art in Brighton,” he comments. “It’s actually shown me a couple of pieces of street art I haven’t seen before.”

People have apparently been willing to wander around outside late at night in search of that elusive Squirtle or Meowth – or even make a catch while they wait for their wife to give birth. This has turned Pokemon Go into a bizarre phenomenon that has helped provide the game with its other, perhaps most important, dimension of success: it is excellent fodder for social media.

In 2013, British writer and TV presenter Charlie Brooker cited Twitter as one of his top 25 video games that changed the world. How is Twitter a video game? By Brooker’s logic, it has a graphical interface and a points-based system of competition (number of followers, for example). The idea that social media is a game, or that it can be played like one, is provocative – but with an app like Pokemon Go in mind this seems to make sense. Part of the game’s appeal, whether its makers intended this or not, seems to be the opportunity to meme-ify and share experiences about it on sites like Reddit, Snapchat and Imgur.

Thus, Pokemon Go plays out not just within the official app, but via these social networks too.

Psychologists are beginning to understand why using social media is so enjoyable, and one aspect of particular interest is the opportunity to craft and experiment with one’s sense of self. We do this offline too, but online we are offered different possibilities – and different potential rewards, such as new friends or increased levels of interaction.

Interestingly, there are many stories online of Pokemon Go players bumping into each other while on the hunt – the game clearly encourages social interaction both via the web and face-to-face, which is unusual.

Pokemon Go, then, may well be the perfect game for the social media age – we’re primed for it, argues Przybylski. Using social media has, he suggests, readied us for this sort of experience.

“The modern era has trained people for playing Pokemon Go,” he says.

Indeed, the way the game is being played and talked about online certainly seems to capture the essence of Mark Zuckerberg’s mantra that social media should enable “frictionless sharing” – activity that happens naturally and that appeals directly to the needs and desires of users.

Of course, it’s not clear how long players will remain enthralled by Pokemon Go. It’s still very new. But as with all overnight successes, this is another phenomenon that has managed to tap into some fundamental desire shared by many.

In doing so, Pokemon Go might just have revealed a little bit more about what motivates people. Whether or not you enjoy playing video games yourself, that’s certainly something worth thinking about.

Chris Baraniuk is a freelance science and technology writer. He Tweets as @machinestarts.

This Is How Much Data The Internet Gets Through In One Minute


Source: This Is How Much Data The Internet Gets Through In One Minute

Computer software company Domo has just released its fourth annual installment of its “Data Never Sleeps” series, which breaks down our online habits and Internet activity across the biggest online media platforms. As you can imagine, our appetite for information and emojis has only gotten stronger over the course of this year.

Over 200 million people hooked up to the Internet this year, meaning that 3.6 billion of us are just a few clicks and a scroll away from each other. Pretty impressive, considering when Domo started this project in 2013 there were just 2.1 billion people online.

As the world chomps through 18,264,840 megabytes of wireless data every minute, pretty much every household name of the online world has seen a similarly salient boost, such as millennial matchmaker Tinder, which receives 972,222 “swipes” every single minute; that’s over 380,000 more than last year.

There’s also some new players to the game such as Giphy, the GIF search engine, which has risen through the ranks of the Internet giants within just three years. After integrating with Twitter and Facebook, this platform now serves up around 598,217 GIFS every single minute.

For comparison, you can check out the 2015 edition right here.


Life Is Streaming Past You – Binge Media Culture Finds a Receptive Audience in Americans

The freedom to binge on all media anytime. See a problem ahead?

Source: Binge Media Culture Finds a Receptive Audience in Americans

See how our brains group words by meaning in surprisingly complex semantic maps


A groundbreaking new study from the Gallant Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley is transforming how scientists understand language organisation in the brain. Published in Natureon 28 April 2016, the paper ‘Natural Speech Reveals the Semantic Maps That Tile Human Cerebral Cortex’ reveals that we use our entire brain – and not just the temporal lobe, as once believed – to group words by meaning. And while every ‘brain dictionary’ appears to be unique, they share some surprising similarities. To learn more about the research, explore the interactive map based on the study at the Gallant Laboratory’s website.

Video by Nature

Animator: Alexander Huth