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PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive. Social influence = any process whereby a persons attitudes, opinions, beliefs, or behaviour are altered or controlled by some form of social communication. It includes conformity, compliance, group polarization, minority social influence, obedience, persuasion, and the influence of social norms. Social influence is not necessarily negative. For example, doctors can try to persuade patients to change unhealthy habits. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject it, and is not unduly coercive. Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation. Law of social impact = a proposition introduced by the US psychologist Bibb Latane in an article in the journal America Psychologist in 1981, designed to explain social influence effects, including persuasion, conformity, compliance and obedience. It is usually expressed by the equation T=f(SIN), where T is the magnitude of the impact, f indicates a function, S is the strength of the influence sources (for example, their credibility in the case of attitude change), I is the immediacy of the influence sources (face-to-face communication being the most immediate and the print media the least immediate), and N is the number of influence sources. The analogy of electric lamps shining on a sheet of paper helps to explain the law: the amount of light reaching the paper is a function of the strength (wattage) of the lamps, the immediacy of the laps (how close they are to the paper) and the number of lamps. The law embodies a multiplicative model, because if S, I or N is zero, the magnitude of the impact is zero. To manipulate, according to Webster, is to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means, especially to ones own advantage; to change by artful or unfair means to serve ones purposes. Manipulation is different from legitimate, direct, above-board influence. We all engage in attempts to influence others. In some relationships, such as parent-child, teacher-student, and therapist-patient bonds, attempted influence in the service of the targets best interests and needs is central to the definition of roles. Healthy, appropriate influence generally is shaped by a process of reward. It is guided by open, honest, and direct communication. Strategies of threats and coercion are not used. The agenda or purpose of the influence is defined and made public to the participants. There are five basic ways that manipulators control their victims. They are: 1. Positive reinforcement 2. Negative reinforcement 3. Intermittent or partial reinforcement 4. Punishment 5. Traumatic one-trial learning

These basic modes of learning are used to influence, teach, coach, motivate, discipline, encourage, and manipulate behavior across all kinds of relationships and situations. Whether you are aware of these methods or not, you have no doubt used them to modify, influence, shape, or control the behavior of other people, and they have no doubt been used to influence, shape, and control your own behavior. 1. As Skinner discussed, positive reinforcement is superior to punishment in altering behavior. He maintained that punishment was not simply the opposite of positive reinforcement; positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, whereas punishment changes behavior only temporarily and presents many detrimental side effects. Skinner defined reinforcement as creating situations that a person likes or removing a situation he doesn't like. This is the basic principle of reward. If you like what someone is doing and you want to increase the frequency and consistency of the desired behavior, you provide a reward, or positive reinforcement, for it. This reinforcement may come in the form of praise, money, approval, affection, gifts, attention, facial expressions that connote approval or pleasure (e.g., a smile or laugh), public recognition, and a myriad of other material and nonmaterial rewards and their symbols that people use to reward or reinforce one another, such as money, title, and promotions. 2. In negative reinforcement, a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping or avoiding of a negative condition. Though many people associate negative reinforcement with punishment, this is simply not true. Instead, negative reinforcement serves to encourage a certain positive behavior by taking away a negative stimulus. This concept is best illustrated with an example; A common one is a rat in a cage. When the rat is placed in the cage, it may receive a small electric shock, but if the rat presses a small lever, the electric shock stops. The electric shock is the negative stimulus, and when the lever is repeatedly pressed, the negative stimulus is removed. The rat quickly learns, through negative reinforcement, to press the lever and stop the shocks. It is not punishment; instead, it is an example of the removal of a negative stimulus leading to a desired behavior. 3. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be given on either a continuous and consistent basis or on an intermittent, partial, randomized, and unpredictable basis. These two schedules of reinforcementthe pattern of frequency and predictability of the reinforcementhave a great deal to do with how the mark feels about the person who is delivering the reinforcement and about the behavior that is generating it. When positive reinforcement is delivered on a partial or intermittent schedule, the stage is set for the development of addictive behavior. The very uncertainty built into a randomized schedule can create frustration and compulsive behavior where the target is always looking for that anticipated reward. In manipulative relationships involving intermittent or partial reinforcement, the target has great difficulty differentiating

between circumstances where behavior is being partially and intermittently reinforced and those where the reinforcement (gain) has ceased altogether. 4. Punishment is any change in a human or animal's surroundings that occurs after a given behavior or response which reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. There are two types of punishment in operant conditioning: - positive punishment or type I punishment, an experimenter punishes a response by presenting an aversive stimulus into the animal's surroundings (a brief electric shock, for example). - negative punishment or type II punishment, a valued, appetitive stimulus is removed (as in the removal of a feeding dish). As with reinforcement, it is not usually necessary to speak of positive and negative in regard to punishment. 5. Traumatic one-trial learning referes to using verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behavior can condition or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator. This method of controlling behavior is the proverbial hand on a hot burner event. In other words, you do not need a second experience to learn to keep your hands away from a hot burner if you have experienced a painful burn once. A terrifying or traumatic experience can produce long-term and generalized effects. For example, a child who is attacked and bitten by a pit bull is very likely to develop a morbid fear of dogs that may last a lifetime. The generalization effect means that the childs fear attaches not only to pit bulls but to dogs that resemble pit bulls in any way or maybe even to all dogs in general. Acording to George Simon, he identified the following manipulative techniques: 1. Lying: It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time they do it although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimize the chances of being lied to is to understand that some personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways. 2. Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda. 3. Denial: Manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong. 4. Rationalization: An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behavior. Rationalization is closely related to spin. 5. Minimization: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalization. The manipulator asserts that his or her behavior is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke. 6. Selective inattention or selective attention: Manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like "I don't want to hear it". 7. Diversion: Manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.

8. Evasion: Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague responses, weasel words. 9. Covert intimidation: Manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats. 10. Guilt tripping: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position. 11. Shaming: Manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and selfdoubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm. Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim. 12. Playing the victim role ("poor me"): Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else's behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation. 13. Vilifying the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator. 14. Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example saying he is acting in a certain way for "obedience" and "service" to God or a similar authority figure. 15. Seduction: Manipulator uses charm, praise, flattery or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defenses and give their trust and loyalty to him or her. 16. Projecting the blame (blaming others): Manipulator scapegoats in often subtle, hard to detect ways. 17. Feigning innocence: Manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or did not do something that they were accused of. Manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment and possibly his own sanity. 18. Feigning confusion: Manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what you are talking about or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention. 19. Brandishing anger: Manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets "angry" when denied. Most manipulators use most or all of the methods just described to establish and maintain control over their victims behavior. Methods are not mutually exclusive; the manipulator may change tactics and methods just to remain unpredictable and confusing to his or her mark.