Dr. van Wijk did his PhD during an academic staff employment contract at Radboud University Nijmegen. Subsequently, he followed a career in industry as an ecotoxicologist and in various management roles. As an environmental researcher he concluded that the alarmistic claims about climate change and global warming were baseless. However, he also realized that presenting the science and facts did not change public opinion. That got him interested in the mechanism of public perception and made him study this phenomenon, including classic works on propaganda (Edward Bernays), influencing (Cialdini) and mass communication (Martin Lindstrom). To truly understand the power of hypnosis he followed a training course and became a registered hypnotherapist, practising from home.
During the last two decades the extensive knowledge of influencing minds has been widely applied by companies in marketing, but also by governments to influence citizens on policy acceptance and even elections. This means there is a psychological media power applied to influence people’s minds without consent and often unconsciously. NATO identifies this as 5th generation warfare, which consequently affects every individual citizen. This jeopardizes democratic principles and human rights, and academia can play a decisive role in informing the public and strengthen their resilience.
In this citizen research initiative, I want to work with academics and journalists, motivated researchers in the areas of sociology, psychology and (mass)communication to study the mechanisms applied by governments on civilians. A comprehensive and structured overview of mass communication and propaganda techniques should be developed and published. Based on this scientific overview, a package of media tools and tutorials should be developed to raise the awareness of the general public to strengthen their skills to recognize (un)conscious media manipulation and reduce their vulnerability to propaganda and mind control. The practical format is to form a small, dedicated core team of academics (and students) from key expertise areas, which can be (temporarily) extended on a need basis. We will explore, analyse, explain and list the various techniques and publish review(s). Thirdly we develop various (social)media tools and tutorials to the benefit of the public at large. – This citizen research initiative is likely to work best with collaborators from multiple fields – Typically bi-weekly meetings
To be determined, depending on the candidate’s experience
– Domain knowledge at least bachelor level, preferably master level (even if you do not have the formal degree). – In general, I expect motivated scientists with a strong societal interest.
– Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org subject: “Citizen Research Initiative on Mass Communication” – Describe your motivation and your view on psychological warfare and perception control, based on the key publications of the area concerned. – Online kick-off: tbd, Februari/March 2024.