Friday, May 11, 2018

SUBTLE INFLUENCE AND INFORMATION DISCLOSURE: HOW PRIMING WORKS IN INTELLIGENCE


The following is an excerpt from the latest CREST Security Review (Issue 8). You'll see how from the snippet below, the material is directly applicable to those working in crisis situations be it as as law enforcement negotiator, crisis intervention specialist, crisis counselor or another type of role. 

In his book The Black Banners, Ali Soufan, a former FBI intelligence interviewer, describes an interesting case when he used subtle influence tactics that ultimately led an al-Qaeda operative – Anas al-Mekki – to disclose sensitive information. Based on the available intelligence, Soufan deduced that al-Mekki valued respect highly. 

Thus, to facilitate the likelihood that alMekki would disclose information, Soufan shrewdly increased al-Mekki’s perceptions that he was respected by altering the previously bare interview room to resemble a homely living room. In addition, Soufan allowed al-Mekki to remain uncuffed during their interview sessions and, when attempting to elicit information, Soufan drew on al-Mekki’s need for respect by being firm but friendly and respectful. 

PRIMING TO PROMOTE INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
Social psychologists refer to such tactics, where a particular perception or motivation is covertly increased to influence a target’s behaviour, as priming. An emerging body of psychological research suggests that priming motivations, which is likely to promote information disclosure, leads interviewees to share more information in intelligence interviews... 

HOW DOES PRIMING WORK?
Current theories of priming suggest that in the first instance priming increases the ease with which the primed motivation, for example the intention to offer beneficial assistance to another, comes to an individual’s mind. This initial step in the priming process is important because, due to their subtle nature, individuals typically misattribute the ease with which the primed motivation comes to their mind as self- rather than prime-generated...

Read more from David Neequaye on Priming [HERE]. 

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