Monday, 30 March 2009

Are We Being Hypnotised About Jacqui Smith

image credit The Daily Telegraph

Its easy to see how Jacqui Smith has developed a Thousand Yard Stare as she contemplates seeing her career being shot to pieces as a result of the latest faux pas involving her expenses claim for pay per view porn films.

But hold on. Are we being placed in a trance too by the skilful words of Conservative former shadow home secretary David Davis who tells us that "there would be little sympathy for Ms Smith"

He said: "I don't call for people to go unless I think there is absolutely a smoking gun, but I just do think in this circumstance the sympathy for her will be even less than it otherwise would have been because she is not that good at her job."

After reading the work of social influence experts Kevin Hogan and Bob Cialdini, the words highlighted in the previous sentence appear to be subtle instructions to the listener. There are three potential uses of hypnotic language patterns in his speech.

1. Apparently we ignore the word 'don't' and only take in what in what follows because of its continuous use in our childhood to the extent that we react to its use and do what what we are told not to do. Don't believe me?

2. When we are told to 'imagine' or 'think' we are being instructed to hold in our minds what follows. Any thought placed in our minds is a form of hypnosis. Think about it.

3. The use of the word 'because' and what follows it is known as a placebic response. We assume that anything that follows the word 'because' is a justifiable reason. Because of this its taken as true.

To think that politicians are not unaware of persuasive language use is gullibility

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