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Psychological Weapons of Mass Disruption Through Vicarious Classical Conditioning.

Abstract: The attacks on America on September 11th represent a new kind of war strategy against the United States, an asymmetric war.  The attacks were brilliant from a military perspective.  The attacks also evidence a considerable amount of insight into the use of vicarious classical conditioning to create mass disruption.  The mechanisms of employed seem to have evaded both scientific scrutiny and even significant understanding by psychologists, other experts, the media or the public.  This paper presents several hypotheses that might enable to predict potential disasters and disruptions better, based on their classical conditioning properties.

Relevance to PAXIS’ Work: PAXIS focuses on bettering the world using multiple scientific disciplines related to human behavior and development. Like any tool, a tool can be used for good or evil. This paper in the most important text book on terrorism shows how the attacks of 911 were extremely well conceived stategic insults to the psychology of America and its alies. The public and news media tended to dismiss the use of behavioral science in this attack.  This paper sounds a warning for us to understand how behavioral science can become a force for harm as well as good.