PSYMDEV, a System Intended for Assisting the Military Analyst to Construct Psychological Messages
Authors: Colette Faucher, Malika Machtoune
Abstract: In asymmetric conflicts, the Armed Forces generally have to intervene in countries where the internal peace is in danger. They must make the local population an ally in order for them to be able to deploy the necessary military actions with its support. For this purpose, psychological operations (PSYOPS) are used to shape people’s behaviors and feelings by spreading out messages thanks to different media (tracts, loudspeakers, video clips, etc.). In this paper, we present PSYMDEV (PSYchological Message DEViser), a system that helps the military analyst to construct messages that trigger specific feelings in members of the population selected by social criteria like age or political opinion and called the info-targets. Given such a sociocultural group and a feeling that the latter must feel, the system provides a twofold-situation that consists of, on the one hand, a categorization-situation meant to induce a positive or negative initial state of mind in the info-targets depending on the type of feeling to be triggered through a psychological mechanism inspired by theories stemming from Social Psychology and an action-situation aiming at effectively triggering the specific feeling through a psychological process explained by the Intergroup Emotion Theory, an extension of the Appraisal Theory of Emotions. These situations are illustrated by means of images or a film or some auditive elements, thanks to adapted media generally used by the military like tracts or video clips, for example. Therefore, the twofold-situation gives birth to a psychological message intended to trigger a feeling. After presenting the theories underlying the system and its overall structure and functioning, we more specifically focus on the conception of a categorization-situation.
Keywords: Psychological Operations, Appraisal Theory, Intergroup Emotion Theory, Social Categorization Approach, Common Ingroup Identity Model, Sociocultural Identity, Situation, Sociocultural knowledge.
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