Adolf Hitler was a German politician, demagogue, and Pan-German revolutionary, who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945.
Author: Henry A. Murray, M. D.
Print Source:Nuremberg, Germany: International Military Tribunal, 1943-10-00
Publication Info: Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Law Library hitler
Marlin, R.. (1993). Public Relations Ethics: Ivy Lee, Hill and Knowlton, and the Gulf War. International Journal of Moral and Social Studies
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“The public relations firm of hill and knowlton has received severe criticism for the methods it used on behalf of its client, citizens for a free kuwait, to persuade the us congress and the american people to wage war on iraq. in particular, a widely circulated story about iraqis removing 312 babies from incubators and leaving them to die on the floor fuelled anger against the iraqis. the story was later discredited, though other atrocities have been documented. a major factor in public acceptance of the story was endorsement by amnesty international and emotional testimony by a girl identified only as nayirah’. the incident underscores the importance of the most central ethical concern expressed by the highly successful early practitioner and theorist of public relations, ivy lee; namely, that the source of persuasive materials presented to the public should never be disguised. the factual record of the incubator story and lee’s ethical writings are both examined with a view to exploring the ethics of the case.”
Fowler, G., & Fedler, F.. (1994). A Farewell to Truth: Lies, Rumors and Propaganda as the Press Goes to War.. Florida Communication Journal
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“The article stresses that for each new generation of news people the lessons of history, and of journalism’s obligation to report, not to cheerlead at the expense of veracity, seem to need relearning. it illustrates the case of the 5-year-old nayirah who had described the iraqi infanticide in testimony before the congressional human rights caucus in october of 1990 but at that time the media had not done anything to probe nayirah’s identity or her whereabouts during the alleged acts of atrocity in kuwait city. it shows that the press, having been fed a sensational story, committed the unreporterly blunder of failing to check it out.”
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The weapons priming effect: A robust psychological finding which demonstrates that the mere presence of weapons causes significant increases in aggressive thoughts and violent behaviour, thereby implying that children should not be exposed to weapons (in reality and virtual reality, i.e., in vivo and silico).
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The weapons priming effect is a psychological phenomenon described in the scientific domain of social and cognitive/affective psychology. It refers to the finding that the mere presence of a weapon (e.g., a picture of a weapon) leads to more aggressive and less prosocial thoughts and behaviors in humans beings. The effect was first described by Leonard Berkowitz & LePage (1967) in their publication “Weapons as Aggressions-Eliciting Stimuli” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers experimentally corroborated their hypothesis that stimuli commonly associated with aggression (i.e., weapons) elicit aggressive responses from people (i.e., people are primed to act aggressively). The weapons priming effect is a repeatedly replicated empirical finding in psychology. A meta-analysis conducted in 2018 supported the robustness of the effect. These finding are specifically relevant in the context of military PR campaigns which encourage children to “play” with guns. Next to important humanistic concerns, neurobiological considerations concerning brain development, developmental neuroplasticity, and Hebbian long-term potentiation (LTP) are pertinent in this context. If we want to create a peaceful future on this planet we need to ‘stop to teach our children how to kill’.
An overview of the psychology of human aggression and violence
Topically related lectures
Prof. Brad J. Bushman: Lecture on the weapons priming effect
Prof. Brad J. Bushman: TED talk on aggression and violence
Noam Chomsky: The Military Is Misunderstood
Noam Chomsky on Technology, Military and Education
Noam Chomsky on Technology and Military Research
Pertinent scientific references
Anderson, C. A., Benjamin, A. J., & Bartholow, B. D.. (1998). Does the Gun Pull the Trigger? Automatic Priming Effects of Weapon Pictures and Weapon Names. Psychological Science, 9(4), 308–314.
“More than 30 years ago, berkowitz and lepage (1967) published the first study demonstrating that the mere presence of a weapon increases aggressive behavior. these results have been repli- cated in several contexts by several research teams. the standard explanation of this weapons effect on aggressive behavior involves priming; identification of a weapon is believed to automatically increase the accessibility of aggression-related thoughts. two experi- ments using a word pronunciation task tested this hypothesis. both experiments consisted of multiple trials in which a prime stimulus (weapon or nonweapon) was followed by a target word (aggressive or nonaggressive) that was to be read as quickly as possible. the prime stimuli were words in experiment 1 and pictures in experiment 2. both experiments showed that the mere identification of a weapon primes aggression-related thoughts. a process model linking weapons as primes to aggressive behavior is discussed briefly”
Benjamin, A. J., Kepes, S., & Bushman, B. J.. (2018). Effects of Weapons on Aggressive Thoughts, Angry Feelings, Hostile Appraisals, and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Weapons Effect Literature. Personality and Social Psychology Review : An Official Journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
“Guns are associated with aggression. a landmark 1967 study showed that simply seeing a gun can increase aggression?called the ?weapons effect.? this meta-analysis integrates the findings of weapons effect studies conducted from 1967 to 2017. it includes 162 effect-size estimates from 78 independent studies involving 7,668 participants. the theoretical framework used to explain the weapons effect was the general aggression model (gam), which proposes three routes to aggression?cognitive, affective, and arousal. the gam also proposes that hostile appraisals can facilitate aggression. as predicted by the gam, the mere presence of weapons increased aggressive thoughts, hostile appraisals, and aggression, suggesting a cognitive route from weapons to aggression. weapons did not significantly increase angry feelings. only one study tested the effects of weapons on arousal. these findings also contribute to the debate about social priming by showing that incidental exposure to a stimulus (weapon) can affect subsequent related behavior (aggression).”
Benjamin, A. J., Kepes, S., & Bushman, B. J.. (2018). Effects of Weapons on Aggressive Thoughts, Angry Feelings, Hostile Appraisals, and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Weapons Effect Literature.. Personality and Social Psychology Review : An Official Journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc, 22(4), 347–377.
“A landmark 1967 study showed that simply seeing a gun can increase aggression-called the ‘weapons effect.’ since 1967, many other studies have attempted to replicate and explain the weapons effect. this meta-analysis integrates the findings of weapons effect studies conducted from 1967 to 2017 and uses the general aggression model (gam) to explain the weapons effect. it includes 151 effect-size estimates from 78 independent studies involving 7,668 participants. as predicted by the gam, our naïve meta-analytic results indicate that the mere presence of weapons increased aggressive thoughts, hostile appraisals, and aggression, suggesting a cognitive route from weapons to aggression. weapons did not significantly increase angry feelings. yet, a comprehensive sensitivity analysis indicated that not all naïve mean estimates were robust to the presence of publication bias. in general, these results suggest that the published literature tends to overestimate the weapons effect for some outcomes and moderators.”
Benjamin, A. J., & Bushman, B. J.. (2016). The weapons priming effect. Current Opinion in Psychology
“In many societies, weapons are plentiful and highly visible. this review examines recent trends in research on the weapons priming effect, which is the finding that the mere presence of weapons can prime people to behave aggressively. the general aggression model provides a theoretical framework to explain why the weapons priming effect occurs. this model postulates that exposure to weapons increases aggressive thoughts and hostile appraisals, thus explaining why weapons facilitate aggressive behavior. data from meta-analytic reviews are consistent with the general aggression model. these findings have important practical as well as theoretical implications. they suggest that the link between weapons and aggression is very strong in semantic memory, and that merely seeing a weapon can make people more aggressive.”
Dillon, K. P., & Bushman, B. J.. (2017). Effects of Exposure to Gun Violence in Movies on Children’s Interest in Real Guns. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(11), 1057.
“Importance more us children die by accidental gun use than children in other developed countries. one factor that can influence children’s interest in guns is exposure to media containing guns. objective to test whether children who see a movie containing guns will handle a real gun longer and will pull the trigger more times than children who see the same movie not containing guns. design, setting, and participants one hundred four children aged 8 to 12 years recruited through advertisements were randomly assigned in pairs to watch a 20-minute pg-rated movie containing or not containing guns in a university laboratory. children then played with toys and games in a room for 20 minutes while being video recorded. a cabinet in the room contained a real (disabled) gun with a sensor counting trigger pulls. recordings were coded for the time spent holding the gun and in aggressive play. data were collected from july 15, 2015, through january 1, 2016, and analyzed using generalized estimating equations (tweedie log-link for time spent holding the gun; poisson log-link for pulling the trigger). main outcomes and measures the 2 main outcomes were time spent holding the gun and the number of trigger pulls. control variables included sex, age, trait aggressiveness, exposure to violent media, interest in guns, and number of guns at home. results among the 104 study participants (62 boys [59.6%] and 42 girls [40.4%]; mean (sd) age, 9.9 [1.5] years), the adjusted median number of trigger pulls among children who saw the movie containing guns was 2.8 (interquartile range [iqr], 0.2-2.8) compared with 0.01 (iqr, 0.01-0.2) among children who saw the movie not containing guns (adjusted odds ratio, 22.3; 95% ci, 6.0-83.4; p < .001). the adjusted median number of seconds spent holding the gun among children who saw a movie containing guns was 53.1 (iqr, 35.5-53.1) compared with 11.1 (iqr, 10.7-16.7) among children who saw the movie not containing guns (adjusted odds ratio, 3.0; 95% ci, 0.9-9.9; p = .07). qualitative analyses on 4 pairs from each condition found that children who saw the movie containing guns also played more aggressively and sometimes fired the gun at people (ie, self, partner, or passersby on street). conclusions and relevance children in the united states frequently have access to unsecured firearms and frequently consume media containing guns. this experiment shows that children who see movie characters use guns are more likely to use guns themselves. …”
Gallina, M. F., & Fass, W.. (2014). The Weapons Effect in College Females. Violence and Gender
“The weapons effect (i.e., the phenomenon in which weapons elicit aggressive thoughts or behaviors) has been previously studied with male participants. however, we attempted to replicate the weapons effect with female participants. a total of 107 female undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of three image priming conditions. participants were primed with images of assault guns, hunting guns, or brooms, and then responded to questions relating to aggressive behaviors. the results indicated that the weapons effect can be produced in female participants. specifically, participants in the hunting gun condition reported more aggression than participants in the control condition. the replication of the weapons effect in females produced by this study may indicate that this effect is gender neutral. implications of the findings are discussed.”
Lust, S. A., Saults, J. S., Henry, E. A., Mitchell, S. N., & Bartholow, B. D.. (2009). Dangerous minds: A psychophysiological study of alcohol, perception of weapons and racial bias. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
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“Research has established that participants more quickly and accurately categorize guns following pictures of black men than pictures of white men (e.g., payne, 2001). previous work (see bartholow et al, 2006) also indicates that alcohol can enhance expressions of race bias by impairing cognitive control of inhibition. the n2 component of the event-related brain potential (erp) can serve as an indicator of inhibitory conflict in such paradigms while the ern (error-related negativity) can reflect distress related to race bias errors. here, 67 adults (age 21-35) were randomly assigned to consume alcohol (mean bac =0.101 (sd=0.016), a placebo (9:1 tonic to 100 proof vodka), or a control beverage (all tonic) prior to completing the weapons identification priming task (payne, 2001) in which a picture of a black or white man’s face is followed by an image of a gun or a tool (i.e., target). alcohol decreased accuracy overall (m =.79 vs. .90 in placebo), p<.01. ps were also more accurate at identifying tools following white faces (m =.85) than black faces (m =.82), but were more accurate identifying weapons following black faces (m =.89) than white faces (m =.87), p <.01. as predicted, alcohol increased this race bias effect (d=1.11) relative to placebo (d =.66) and control (d =.87). process dissociation procedure analyses (jacoby, 1991) showed that the influence of automatic processing on responses was unaffected by alcohol (ms = .57, .57, and .57), but that alcohol significantly impaired controlled processing (ms = .58, .8, and .76). this pattern also was reflected in n2 and ern amplitudes, suggesting that alcohol impairs the ability to override prepotent responses associated with race bias.”
“Violations of moralnorms can be made ‘morally invisible’ even if all relevant facts are unobscured: This can be achieved by embedding these facts into a context that prevents eliciting widespread unease and indignation. One example is the structural violence associated with the implementation of neoliberal economical doctrine. While societal and humanitarian consequences of this violence have so far been mostly observed in so-called third-world countries, they also manifest themselves more and more often in western industrialized nations. Mass media play a pivotal role in making facts morally and cognitively visible: In addition to reporting simple facts, media typically also deliver the contextual frame necessary for interpreting the facts, thus shaping our political world view. The invisibility of some moral transgressions is thus part of our daily live and concerns us all.” (Mausfeld, 2015)
However, as soon as the causal reason for the fragmentation becomes available to us (i.e., when we become aware of the visual or ideological “mask”) we are able to use inferential deductivecognitive reasoning processes to identify (and understand) the underlying pattern – despite the fragmentation of information/knowledge (see Figure 2). Without this “causative information” which masks the underlying pattern the likelihood of successful pattern recognition is minute (note that both figures display the letter “R” in various orientations – the difference between them is that Figure 2 shows the mask whereas Figure 1 does not) .
Insight1 (cf. Köhler, 1925)2 into the mechanism which causes the occlusion and fragmentation thus allows us to understand the broader meaning of the percept (or the psychological narrative), viz., we are able to see “the bigger picture” in context. This contextual knowledge can be a visual mask or a historical pattern (as outlined below). The adumbrated perceptual analogy is thus generalisable across prima vista unrelated domains (i.e., it is domain non-specific).
The same idea can be applied to the social sphere. An understanding of the mechanisms which undergird “neoliberal psychological indoctrination” is crucial in order to understand the “bigger picture” – the “holistic gestalt” (Ash, 1998; Sharps & Wertheimer, 2000) of the social, political, economic, and academic environment we inhabit. Based on this overarching knowledge we can then “try our best” to take an appropriate and responsible course of action. However, we first have to perceive and acknowledge the problem. That is, a valid diagnosis is primary. Without this broader understanding we “lose sight of the wood for the trees” (cf. global vs. local perception/information processing), that is, we attend to seemingly unrelated semantic information fragments without an understanding of their mutual interrelations. Interestingly, emotions & affective states play a significant modulatory role in the underlying cognitive processes (e.g., Basso, Schefft, Ris, & Dember, 1996; Gasper & Clore, 2002; Huntsinger, Clore, & Bar-Anan, 2010). In other words, our emotional system is centrally involved in perception and reasoning. Therefore, the emotional system (i.e., limbic system) can be systematically manipulated in order to interfere with rational higher-order (prefrontal) cognitive processes which are necessary for logical inferential reasoning and problem-solving. Primordial fear (phylogenetically ancient amygdalae circuitry) is perhaps the most significant inhibitor of higher-order cognitive processes.
Gross, C. T., & Canteras, N. S.. (2012). The many paths to fear. Nature Reviews Neuroscience
“Fear is an emotion that has powerful effects on behaviour and physiology across animal species. it is accepted that the amygdala has a central role in processing fear. however, it is less widely appreciated that distinct amygdala outputs and downstream circuits are involved in different types of fear. data show that fear of painful stimuli, predators and aggressive members of the same species are processed in independent neural circuits that involve the amygdala and downstream hypothalamic and brainstem circuits. here, we discuss data supporting multiple fear pathways and the implications of this distributed system for understanding and treating fear.”
Povinelli, D. J., & Bering, J. M.. (2002). The mentality of apes revisited. Current Directions in Psychological Science
“Although early compara- tive psychology was seriously marred by claims of our spe- cies’ supremacy, the residual backlash against these archaic evolutionary views is still be- ing felt, even though our un- derstanding of evolutionary biology is now sufficiently ad- vanced to grapple with possi- ble cognitive specializations that our species does not share with closely related species. the overzealous efforts to dis- mantle arguments of human uniqueness have only served to show that most compara- tive psychologists working with apes have yet to set aside the antiquated evolutionary ‘lad- der.’ instead, they have only attempted to pull chimpan- zees up to the ladder’s highest imaginary rung–or perhaps, to pull humans down to an equally imaginary rung at the height of the apes. a true com- parative science of animal minds, however, will recog- nize the complex diversity of the animal kingdom, and will thus view homo sapiens as one more species with a unique set of adaptive skills crying out to be identified and understood.”
Ruiz, G., & Sánchez, N.. (2014). Wolfgang Köhler’s the mentality of apes and the animal psychology of his time. Spanish Journal of Psychology
in 1913, the anthropoid station for psychological and physiological research in chimpanzees and other apes was founded by the royal prussian academy of sciences (berlin) near la orotava, tenerife. eugene teuber, its first director, began his work at the station with several studies of anthropoid apes’ natural behavior, particularly chimpanzee body language. in late 1913, the psychologist wolfgang köhler, the second and final director of the station, arrived in tenerife. during his stay in the canary islands, köhler conducted a series of studies on intelligent behavior in chimpanzees that would become classics in the field of comparative psychology. those experiments were at the core of his book intelligenzprüfungen an menschenaffen ( the mentality of apes ), published in 1921. this paper analyzes köhler’s experiments and notions of intelligent behavior in chimpanzees, emphasizing his distinctly descriptive approach to these issues. it also makes an effort to elucidate some of the theoretical ideas underpinning köhler’s work. the ultimate goal of this paper is to assess the historical significance of köhler’s book within the context of the animal psychology of his time.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)
Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. Horace Liveright.
Bernays, E. L. (1936). Freedom of Propaganda. Vital Speeches of the Day, 2(24), 744–746.
L’Etang, J. (1999). The father of spin: Edward L. Bernays and the birth of public relations. Public Relations Review, 25(1), 123–124.
“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . [a]s a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power…. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach. … The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd.” (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV)
Lippmann, W. (1920). Liberty and the News. Museum.
Lippmann, W. (1970). The Phantom Public. Politics.
From 1930 onwards, Brecht became part of a wider complex of projects exploring the role of intellectuals (or “Tuis” as he called them) in a capitalist society. A Tui is an intellectual who sells his or her abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who uses them to support the dominant ideology of an oppressive society. ] The German modernist theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht invented the term and used it in a range of critical and creative projects, including the material that he developed in the mid-1930s for his so-called Tui-Novel—an unfinished satire on intellectuals in the German Empire and Weimar Republic—and his epic comedy from the early 1950s, Turandot or the Whitewashers’ Congress. The word is a neologism that results from the acronym of a word play on “intellectual” (“Tellekt-Ual-In”).
According to Clark (2006): “… the critique of intellectuals which Brecht developed… around the notion of ‘Tuismus’ engages a model of the public intellectual in which the self-image of the artist and thinker as a socially and politically engaged person corresponded to the expectations of the public.”
Clark, M. W. (2006). Hero or villain? Bertolt Brecht and the crisis surrounding June 1953. Journal of Contemporary History.
Hunt, T. C. N.-. (2004). Goodbye to Berlin: For 200 years, German thinkers have shaped British intellectual life – but their influence is fading fast. The Guardian.
“It is very useful to differentiate between rational and irrational authority. By irrational authority I mean authority exercised by fear and pressure on the basis of emotional submission. This is the authority of blind obedience, the authority you will find most clearly expressed in all totalitarian countries.
But there is another kind of authority, rational authority by which I mean any authority which is based on competence and knowledge, which permits criticism, which by its very nature tends to diminish, but which is not based on the emotional factors of submission and masochism, but on the realistic recognition of the competence of the person for a certain job.”
― 1958. The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man, in: Merrill-Palmer. Quarterly of Behavior and Development, Detroit, Vol. 5, p. 6.
“No expert certification is required to think about these questions, even if the ruling elites try their best to restrict discourse about them to a narrow group of “qualified experts”. As “citoyens”, well-informed and dutiful citizens trying to actively participate in forming our community, we possess what in the age of enlightenment came to be called “lumen naturale”: We are endowed with a natural reasoning faculty that allows us to engage in debates and decisions about matters which directly affect us. We can therefore adequately discuss the essential core of the ways in which grave violations of law and morality are hidden from our awareness without having some specialist education.”(Mausfeld, 2015)
Despite the clear words of these very influential and prominent personalities (i.e., Bernays and Lippmann) some social psychologists argue that “irrational conspiracy theories” are based on fallacious and “illusionary pattern perception” – but see article below.
By contrast, compare the following websites for more information on the actual origin of the “conspiracy theory meme”. According to the in-depth analyses of these scholars, governmental ‘think tanks’ (e.g., well-paid social psychologists) played a crucial role in the invention of the term “conspiracy theory” which is used to prima facie discredit those who challenge the mainstream narrative propagandized by the mass-media and other other social institutions (e.g., schools & universities). The social sciences & humanities have a long well-documented history of contributing to the systematic manipulation of public attitudes & opinions (the public relations industry and the social sciences/humanities are obviously deeply intertwined) (cf. weaponized anthropology). Today, the cognitive neurosciences joined the choir (cf. techniques of neuro-marketing). Psychology (and science in general) is a two-sided sword. It can be used to contribute to the unfoldment of human potential (the humanistic perspective which emphasises liberty and self-actualisation a la Maslow) or the same methods can be used to manipulate and control people (the neoliberal doctrine a la Bernays which focuses on power and submission to authority). It is self-evident on which side of the bipolar continuum (viz., humanism versus neoliberalism) humanity finds itself at the moment…
The book was first published in 1988 and was revised 20 years later to take account of developments such as the fall of the Soviet Union. There has been debate about how the internet has changed the public´s access to information since 1988.