Subliminal Communication Technology Part 5

David Tyler mostly echoes what Dr. Becker has already said. He also mentions that Becker is retiring, leaving Proactive Systems, Inc. the only major contender in the crime prevention via subliminals in business. He states that at that time, his company had over 40 devices leased out (they only leased out of concerns of reverse engineering or tampering with the messages) and by the end of August 1984 they would have 50.

His company’s equipment, for non-crime prevention use, has a different legal or ethical view of the use of subliminal audio than Behavioral Engineering’s. The difference may be slight or simply a sales ploy in practice. Hard to say.

Basically, when it comes to other uses, such as medical (Tyler mentions heart surgery recovery as another use, that attitude has a strong correlation to success after heart surgery), they do not mask the message using music or sound. In fact, he says, if you stand right under or next to the speakers, you can plainly hear it. He says this was an ethical concern over the general idea of putting messages in peoples’ heads without their knowledge. For crime prevention he makes a similar argument as Becker, that we make exceptions for that anyway.

He goes a little deeper into the data than Becker did and suggests that the successes in stores in reducing theft are likely employees and frequent customers, and that it likely only works on people who are not already determined to steal before they walk in. In other words, the system is merely giving them a gentle shove toward not stealing when they are debating internally or on the fence about it.

He also mentions that a New once asked them if they would do a “vote no” machine for an upcoming union vote. His answer is interesting if only because it’s exactly the kind of dodgy answer that makes me prick up my ears:

Mr. Tyler. We get strange requests as well. A New York firm called us about a “vote no” message for a union election coming up. For our company, if we are–

Mr. Glickman. Would you design such a message?

Mr. Tyler. Could we? That says “vote no.” It would be easy to do.

Mr. Glickman. Would it be effective?

Mr. Tyler. I don’t think you can use it to make people do things they don’t want to do. I think it has to be someone on the border line for us to even be effective with honesty reinforcement.

Tyler’s first line of defense is not a simple “no” but rather a qualified maybe. Next:

The evidence is unclear.

Which I take to mean, “Let me get back to you when I’m Becker’s age and there’s tons more research.”

And then:

Our belief is that you cannot do it that way. You cannot make people do things specifically either.

Because the evidence is unclear, they have the option of going with beliefs (that of course protect the bottom line, this is very typical business really). Then he threw the curveball about what happens when you (presumably) have more than two options (for example, steal/don’t steal or vote yes/vote no) and try to determine specific behavior:

They did experiment, if I recall, where they tried to make people buy turkey sandwiches. This is all in a laboratory situation. They had a deli set up. They bought more meat sandwiches, but not more turkey.

Glickman throws out a hypothetical Reagan reelection question. Tyler responds:

First, from our research with audio subliminals, they have to be repeated very, very frequently, because it is frequency and repetition that makes it effective. A brief exposure will not do much. There are other researchers that say we are wrong.

Tyler explained previously that the anti-theft device repeats constantly. It seems likely that so do the medical versions. He continues:

It is possible that it could be done if it was appealing to some kind of emotional impact. But I have no expertise in the visual area.

He seems to be referring to the idea that subliminal pictures along with something like “If you believe in home, family, and motherhood, vote for President Reagan” (Glickman’s example) might have some effect if a person were exposed to it frequently enough. On audio which is within his expertise:

In the audio area, it would be very, very questionable if you are trying to get a lot of things through. You could play the word “Reagan” or “Mondale,” are you going to have an impact, are they going to make a value judgment on those words.

Note again that here they are discussing this technology in the absence of drugs, PSYOPs, covert operations designed to send a particular message.

For example, the framing of Bradley Manning was likely to affect views on not only repealing DADT, but views on gays in general. The basic message would be something like, “Gays are untrustworthy, are traitors.” I have little doubt that that is still the banter being batted back and forth in certain circles despite the overall impact having been mitigated due to the person who reported the breach being gay himself.

Which brings me to the larger point. There are likely many groups using these methods. Some of them oppose each other. The Reagan/Mondale example is apt here. I think it very proabable that this stuff is part and parcel of election cycles. If not used on the public at large (and, really, why wouldn’t it be?), it at least gets used for specific purposes in the overall game. For example, why not getting a political operative like James O’Keefe III off after attempting to bug a US senator’s office? And suggesting the idea of doing so to him in the first place?

And then there were those irrationally irate people who disrupted the town hall meetings on healthcare reform. If it hadn’t been for the actual murder of my own grandmother (a mysterious anemia, also the cause for putting my dog Cleo to sleep, also alluded to in item #10 of the 1955 MK/Ultra memo I refer to often), Sarah Palin’s notion of it being about “killing grandma” would still be laughable to me. Instead it’s merely still untrue, just not a humorously so.

And of course the implication is to lay these last portions at the feet of the brothers Koch. You know, a client of the company I work for. Found myself there without knowing that when I got called to fill in one day a week when the previous subcontractor suddenly started behaving erratically like he had paranoid schizophrenia. That’s quite a trend.

But the larger point is, I think, that without exposing this tech and methods and the unthinkably undemocratic uses that they have been put to (undoubtedly using some legal-weasel arguments that if a person can be persuaded by repeated electronic attacks then they are criminals anyway) things will always be decided by a few. The fate of the human race will be determined not by a consensus among the species, but by a few opportunists who may not have the well-being of the whole in mind.

How to achieve such exposure? Well that’s the question, isn’t it?


1 Comment

  1. […] Rumors also that Koch spent “dark money” to get him elected. If so or if someone else did, on what? What could have swung that vote? […]

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