U.S. Government Uses Social Cognitive Theory and Systematic Desensitization as Weapons

Psychological Warfare Tactics are being used to further the agenda of commercial industry seeking the destruction of American Wild Horses.

CAES – Val Cecama-Hogsett
27 April 2018

In 2015 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) asked for a study to be done on how to deal with the public’s reactions to wild horse management issues such as inhumane gathers, being stampeded by a helicopter when ready to foal, young foals having their hooves literally worn off during a helicopter stampede, then the sterilization of mares, many of them pregnant and aborting foals, not the killing, either through slaughter or euthanasia of 100,000 wild horses.

We were told about this by a Department of Labor employee who had a sit-down with then Director of the National Wild Horse & Burro program at the BLM, Dean Bolstad. We have tried to get a copy of that report through FOIA and other contacts, but it is apparently a top-secret, publicly paid for study (illegal).

What is very clear, and what we talked about when the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Council recommended killing the wild horses in holding, is that it was part of the plan. The advisory council was used by BLM to make this first suggestion of killing animals to alleviate the mess they had made in a flawed management program of 40 plus years.

Social Cognitive Theory, what is it?

Schemas are the basic building blocks of cognitive theory and enable us to form a mental representation of the world. Piaget (1952, p. 7) defined a schema as:

“a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning.”

Wadsworth (2004) describes schemata (pl. for schema) as “index cards’ filed in the brain, each one telling an individual how to react to incoming stimuli or information.”

ByPass Publishing, Published on Sep 16, 2013


This is how a child develops what we would call their views, opinions, knowledge, etc. A series of lessons learned through outside input. So how is this theory combined with systematic desensitization to redirect, in our case the American public?

When the government did this study, we believe the answer given to ‘deal with us’ was to reprogram the public to believe that there is a crisis, in our case, starving and overpopulation of wild horses, and a financial crisis to care for those warehoused in federal and leased long-term holding. So what is needed to reprogram? a constant message given in town hall meetings, closed-door summits, told through media and presented at panel discussions on land or wild horse management. This is Systematic Desensitization.

How is reprogramming achieved in adults? It seems we have already learned about the wild horses, as advocates our experience and beliefs are developed around the history, the culture, and the important role they had in creating our country. We (advocates) revere them as spiritual, and historical icons. So the suggestion by the Advisory Council was the ‘shock’ phase. This phase begins the reprogramming.

The public and unfamiliar lawmakers (to the issues surrounding wild horses) saw this as an absurdity, and the BLM played the role of the reassuring government of its people. Telling us ‘you have just been traumatized, you’re safe, we’ll look into this’.

The second major subfunction in cognitive theory is observational learning where it concerns cognitive representational processes. Retention of the information to reprogram, the necessity for killing horses in our case. Retention involves the processing of new information and reorganizing that information conveyed by scripted inputs
for memory representation. Without absorbing the idea of death, and then hearing the reasons (panel discussion, media, summit) so that we can find a place for that information, we cannot begin to question if it was really absurd.

This second step is where the public and lawmakers are beginning to be more used to the topic, it isn’t a shock anymore, and because humans want to accept information, want to accept what the leaders in a field of study, or the doctors treating their child, we want to understand and find a way to accept the suggestion of death. We are being desensitized. ( Again this ‘we’ speaks to the majority of the public, and the lawmakers who do not know the issue before the campaign to reprogram started).

Public reaction and decision making are being facilitated by the gradual desensitization to and normalization of killing the horses in the social ecology, particularly in an environment overshadowed by ongoing, extreme preservation-political conflict. This is often perpetrated by persons in positions of power to affect their own agendas. This is called the production processes in cognitive theory or assimilation.

The final stage is a stage called the accommodation. What needs to be put out there to let lawmakers feel good about the decision. What justifies the end, it has to be something that makes the killing acceptable. At this stage, the public and the lawmakers feel there is no other option, and this choice will leave 27,000 healthy horses. We have been desensitized to and went from killing being absurd to killing is necessary.

We have been reprogrammed to believe this management plan is the only one that will work. We believe there is a crisis because we have heard it, read it and heard about it so many times. We accept it and feel ‘okay’ with the decision to kill because it was now the best option…

What is not seen by the masses, the unknowing lawmakers and the media is what the people who would not accept the reprogramming saw, the truth about the fake crisis, truth about other solutions that are humane, fiscally responsible. Those opposing the reprogrammers with power are called emotional, or dishonest for their own financial gain, or even conspiracy theorists because we all know our government would never launch this massive media blitz and engage in psychological warfare on their own citizens, or would they?

“…the acquisition of knowledge and skills regarding innovations is necessary, but not sufficient for their adoption in practice. A number of factors determine whether people will act on what they have learned. Environmental inducements serve as one set of regulators. Adoptive behavior is also highly susceptible to incentive influences, which may take the form of material, social, or self-evaluative outcomes. Some of the motivating incentives derive from the utility of the adoptive behavior. The greater the relative benefits provided by an innovation, the higher is the incentive to adopt it(Ostlund, 1974; Rogers & Shoemaker, 1971). However, benefits cannot be experienced until the new practices are tried. Promoters, therefore, strive to get people to adopt new practices by altering their preferences and beliefs about likely outcomes, mainly by enlisting vicarious incentives. Advocates of new technologies and ideologies create expectations that they offer better solutions than established ways do. Modeled benefits increase adoptive decisions.” Bandura

“Shock – the advisory council and the possibility of crisis

Desensitization – media, meetings, speeches, recommendations to Congress, needing to find a resolution because there is a crisis, the process of upset or fear, then calming, then fear, then calming…..etc.etc.

Acceptance – reaching the conclusion that the shock really is the only solution i.e. passing the law to a kill.” – CAES

The addition of social media to mainstream media outlets and physical meetings has allowed for the dissemination of false information at a faster pace than ever before. The information published in unchecked for accuracy, the author and that author’s motivations are not considered. There is no longer an editor or publisher that worries about their reputation for these values we learned to count on for retrieving news and research, to then make decisions about right and wrong, to vote for people or actions or laws. We have to again learn to adapt, we need to become either a blind-follower or a curious observer ready to investigate and discern fact and fiction. This is a case where the public and lawmakers must realize they have been victims of this psychological warfare to lead them into war with those of us who have not been victims, those of us who see the big picture, the truth, and the right path that must be taken.

cognitive theory processes.png
The 4 subfunctions of observational learning in Cognitive Theory combined with Systematic Desensitization.

“…the acquisition of knowledge and skills regarding innovations is necessary, but not sufficient for their adoption in practice. A number of factors determine whether people will act on what they have learned. Environmental inducements serve as one set of regulators. Adoptive behavior is also highly susceptible to incentive influences, which may take the form of material, social, or self-evaluative outcomes. Some of the motivating incentives derive from the utility of the adoptive behavior. The greater the relative benefits provided by an innovation, the higher is the incentive to adopt it (Ostlund, 1974; Rogers & Shoemaker, 1971). However, benefits cannot be experienced until the new practices are tried. Promoters, therefore, strive to get people to adopt new practices by altering their preferences and beliefs about likely outcomes, mainly by enlisting vicarious incentives. Advocates of new technologies and ideologies create expectations that they offer better solutions than established ways do. Modeled benefits increase adoptive decisions.” BanduraThe addition of social media to mainstream media outlets and physical meetings has allowed for the dissemination of false information at a faster pace than ever before. The information published in unchecked for accuracy, the author, and that author’s motivations are not considered. There is no longer an editor or publisher that worries about their reputation for these values we learned to count on for retrieving news and research, to then make decisions about right and wrong, to vote for people or actions or laws. We have to again learn to adapt, we need to become either a blind-follower or a curious observer ready to investigate and discern fact and fiction. This is a case where the public and lawmakers must realize they have been victims of this psychological warfare to lead them into war with those of us who have not been victims, those of us who see the big picture, the truth, and the right path that must be taken.

Remember that many people who may seem to be doing the right thing, may have the motivation to follow the powerful, and their original mission may change. You must do the work, the research, and look at the big picture, ask questions, and don’t be fooled by subliminal messages, open your eyes wide so you see them for what they really are.

 

 

 

References

Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication. Alfred Bandura, Stanford University. https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Bandura/Bandura2009MassComm.pdf

McLeod, S. A. (2015). Jean Piaget. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

A Social-Cognitive-Ecological Framework for Understanding the Impact of Exposure to Persistent Ethnic-Political Violence on Children’s Psychosocial Adjustment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2744398/

Dubow EF, Huesmann LR, Boxer P. A Social-Cognitive-Ecological Framework for Understanding the Impact of Exposure to Persistent Ethnic-Political Violence on Children’s Psychosocial Adjustment. Clinical child and family psychology review. 2009;12(2):113-126. doi:10.1007/s10567-009-0050-7

Bar-Tal D. Sociopsychological foundations of intractable conflicts. American Behavioral Scientist. 2007;50:1430–1453.

Ball-Rokeach, S., & DeFleur, M. (1976). A dependency model of mass media effects. Communication Research, 3, 3-21.

Carroll, W. R., & Bandura, A. (1990). Representational guidance of action production in observational learning: A causal analysis. Journal of Motor Behavior, 22, 85-97

Chaffee, S. H. (1982). Mass media and interpersonal channels: Competitive, convergent, or complementary? In 0. Gumpert & R. Cathart (Eds.), InterlMedia: Interpersonal communication in a media world (pp. 57-77). New York: Oxford University Press.

Granovetter, M. (1983). The strength of weak ties-A network theory revisited. In R. Collins
(Ed.), Sociological theory 1983 (pp. 201-233). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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