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The Dangerous Manipulation of a Country

Updated on October 5, 2012

The Negative Legacy of Operant Conditioning

Psychology is the study of how people think and it has some very good side effects that help people. However, psychology also gives people bad ideas. It was in high school that I was first exposed to B.F. Skinners idea of Operant Conditioning. Many of the papers I wrote during my Bachelor’s degree centered on B.F. Skinner. Skinner is known as the father of behaviorism yet, people should really pay attention to his disturbing experiments with pigeons.

Operant conditioning is the reinforcement of a behavior through a reward. Skinner starved pigeons and then placed them I a box (the Skinner box). The pigeon would then peck and turn, when the desired behavior was completed by the pigeon, food was dispensed as reinforcement for that behavior. Through the miracle of you tube you can actually watch this experiment (see link at the bottom).

Throughout history there are examples of societies that have gone into a state of panic when their food sources are cut off. Right now we see the economy creating situations of poverty across the globe. The more impoverished a group of people are, the greater the chances that they will cling to irrational methods of survival or turn on another group of people in order get sustenance.

There have been Psychologists who have made references to the idea of using Operant Conditioning on an entire society. The problem with controlling an entire society through operant conditioning is that the first step in Operant Condition is to STARVE people, the next step is to make them do something you want, and thereby taking control.

If a person or group can create the situation of poverty or starvation they can essentially manipulate an entire county. Consider the previous Soviet Union who convinced the country that they would be better off in a socialist system (because the people were poor).

Now think about what has happened in the United States over the last five years. This entire country has been manipulated into thinking that we NEED the government to help us survive ie; welfare, food stamps, and unemployment. This is a dangerous idea and it is manipulation.

Manipulation is easily carried out when people are not aware that they are being manipulated. We all know about small manipulations such as people using guilt to get another person to do something. Manipulations of a country is done through cutting off basic needs and making people dependent. Having read and studied the ideas of manipulation and Operant Conditioning it is obvious to me that it is absolutely possible to control a group of people through controlling their food source (they use this in prisons as well).

My husband asked me yesterday “so how do you prevent this type of manipulation?” the answer is that you educate people. So here it is.


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    • jeffreydjm profile image

      Jeff Mallinson 5 years ago from Crawley, UK

      Thumbs up from me! Fantastic Hub, not too long yet not too short, straight to the point, factual and very interesting. Well done!