Episode 319 – Psychographics 101

by | Jul 1, 2017 | Podcasts | 34 comments

What do you get when you combine behavioural science with big data and use the new Frankenstein hybrid to better influence people’s thoughts, opinions and desires? Why, psychographics of course! Join James today as he delves into the murky world of billionaire hedge fund owners, creepy thought manipulators and the Trump campaign.

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Introduction to Psychographics
Time Reference: 01:13
Interview 906 – Social Engineering 101 with James Corbett
Time Reference: 05:27
Episode 145 – You Are Being Gamed
Time Reference: 05:33
B.F. Skinner’s “Walden Two” – FLNWO #17
Time Reference: 05:40
Episode 129 – CALEA and the Stellar Wind
Time Reference: 06:03
Corbett Report Radio 207 – 20 More Ways You Are Being Spied On
Time Reference: 06:15
How the Government Predicts The Future – Inside the “Sentient World Simulation”
Time Reference: 06:23
Episode 033 – Meet Edward Bernays
Time Reference: 06:46
DNA Shaming: Welcome to Orwell’s Nightmare
Time Reference: 07:00
Alexander Nix, CEO, Cambridge Analytica – Online Marketing Rockstars Keynote | OMR17
Time Reference: 07:40
What was the role of Cambridge Analytica in the EU referendum? – BBC Newsnight
Time Reference: 17:33
Company psychologically tailors ads to voters
Time Reference: 19:11
Ted Cruz using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users
Time Reference: 21:15
The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency
Time Reference: 22:33
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked
Time Reference: 23:43
Society Is Being Programmed By A Black Box
Time Reference: 28:04
“Propaganda” by Edward Bernays
Time Reference: 37:10
Cambridge Analytica – What We Do
Time Reference: 37:40
4 Ways The Crime Lab Can Frame You
Time Reference: 39:07
What was the role of Cambridge Analytica in the EU referendum? – BBC Newsnight
Time Reference: 40:41
The Information Commissioner opens a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes
Time Reference: 46:04
Trump’s digital guru on the winning campaign operation
Time Reference: 48:35
This data company knows all about you
Time Reference: 50:05
Why Data Analytics Is the Future of Everything
Time Reference: 51:38
The Real Making of the President: Cambridge Analytica
Time Reference: 52:09
“Propaganda” by Edward Bernays
Time Reference: 01:50
How Big Data is Engineering Your Life
Time Reference: 55:10
How to Boycott Big Tech
Time Reference: 55:23
The Hymn of Acxiom
Time Reference: 56:00


  1. This episode hit a real chord with me.
    Thanks Mr. Corbett!

  2. James you have come as close to explaining the fabric of reality as has ever been presented. You are the Remi Descartes of the new millennium. Modern man is an amalgamation of what he has been designed to be. A pre-thought of some more perfect conceptualization. We are not now we are not what has been we are what needs to be. Molded by the magicians and creators of our reality. Albert Pike says” All real existence,”they said,” is mental existence;nonexistence,being inconceivable, is therefore impossible; existence fills up the whole range of thought, and is inseparable from its exercise; thought and its object are one.”
    We are so easily directed in our actions by thoughts directed at us we are vulnerable babes in the wilderness. We must be vigelent to the object that is not our own making. Thanks for the warning James you do care for humanity.

  3. Leaders / Shapers of Public Opinion

    Something which surprised many folks who follow the alternative media was that during the Presidential campaign, some of the big name alternative media icons came out in full support of Trump…and even supported Trump as he was staffing the White House with a bunch of crooks and war mongers.
    During the campaign there ended up being a whole host of alternative media folks who were also in full support of Trump.
    Ron Paul I could understand. Not Trump.

    It hit me from another angle during this “Psychographics 101 Episode”…
    If a candidate could garner support from the alternative media leaders, then that candidate would likely get votes from that audience sector.

    In other words, a political campaign does not have to necessarily try to target support from people as individuals, but gain the endorsement of leaders. Especially leaders who get a lot of public exposure. The leaders often shape the opinion of their followers.
    In fact, gaining “opinion leaders” would be paramount to an election campaign.

    Thus, during an election a top target of “psychographics” would be the “opinion leaders”, such as big names in the alternative media. If the campaign catches a few big names then other alternative media folks might also follow.

    Regarding Trump. There is not a nice way to say this. Many leaders of alternative media got played, they got “psychographic-ed”, they got manipulated, …or they sold out.

    Another note: I estimate that about 20% of the population pay attention to the alternative media. I know this from interactions with people on the street…thousands of people.
    That is a large demographic, an audience who would probably vote.
    Another audience, the uninformed couch sitting TV watching non-substance people are less likely to vote.

    • Disclaimer:
      I have heard James Corbett repeatedly say in one way or another that we shouldn’t bank on his opinion or ideas; that we should be independent thinkers and researchers; that we should follow our own individual paths.
      There was one episode in particular where he says something to the effect “Why should you care what I think?” Oh, I probably got the quote wrong. I wish I could spot that clip.

    • So true, however in many cases I think those alternative media leaders were playing the game rather than being played. After all, it takes a long time to get rich off selling super male snake oil supplement alone, even if you are making a 1000% profit on each bottle.

      • Octium, You are right…I guess many alternative media folks think that the system can be entirely fixed from within the system by playing the game designed by “The Powers That Shouldn’t Be” who can change the rules anytime.

        Supplements – I worked in the retail Vitamin and Supplement area of a grocery chain (Sprouts) for about 3 years. From about 1200 square feet of space, that department in a store would make an average profit of about $10,000 weekly.

        Gross Revenue = “Number of bodies in the shop” X “Average ticket”.
        Gross Revenue can be increased by raising one or both factors.

        There is no telling what kind of Gross Revenue some of these online places make, especially if they can get a large number of bodies in the shop…many bodies will turn into “buyers”.

        It seems one media outlet is introducing a “new brand”, repositioning their marketing strategy. I am sure that an attractive reporter in a bikini poolside helps to sell product.

        • When it comes to selling things, the people crunching statistics assume that they have reliable data… But, when I find myself needing to purchase things in a place that bullies customers to get a discount card, I don’t have one and I pay full price and with cash… If the person behind me in line plays along when I ask, “do you want my points,” or offers to swipe their discount card, then the data is corrupted… The purchases and all the preferences associated with them, like color, fragrance, size, etc., will be attached to the other person’s data… Just why did that 60 year old biker dude buy strawberry flavored chopstick and SPF 110 sunscreen with his beer and cigarettes? Hmmmm… Additionally, if we all pick a specific spot to take the batteries out of our cell phones when traveling, and put them back in after we get home, it sets a pattern that skews things… I do these things all of the time, like leaving home without my phone at all… Skewed data= incorrect assumptions made in crunching that data… Just a thought…

          • Cool tactics.

            But I got to admit that I have a Kroger discount card. Sometimes it can save large amounts of money (50%), especially if buying meat. My same card is used by folks not in my household who spend much more than I on groceries.
            So, when I fill up at the Kroger gas pump often I get around 70 or 80 cents per gallon off.

            Just last week in Kroger, top Corporate executives were inspecting the store I was shopping in. I approached them and complimented them on their organic selection and how it continues to expand. Kroger stock prices came up during a segue. Without sounding “conspiratorial” I brought up the links of Chiquita banana Central America terrorism, Leon Black & Apollo investments, Sprouts grocery store stock IPO with an overnight scam profit in the billions. These Execs were all ears.

    • Home, this is a well known and widely used strategy, gaining the support of opinion leaders. Not sure that it sheds much light. Is it because you think it was more efficient to garner alt media support through psychographics rather than, say, personal selling?

      • Is it because you think it was more efficient to garner alt media support through psychographics rather than, say, personal selling?
        Yea, I think so. …especially with the Alternative Media.

        The Mainstream Media is basically 5 corporations. Their slant could be hard to control for a Presidential candidate.

        However, the alternative media is much easier to influence.
        And the alternative media has influence upon an audience who shuns the MainStreamMedia.

        Ron Paul running for President is a good case in point. The MainStreamMedia pretty much tried to ignore the guy. The Alternative Media gave Ron Paul milage.

        In my opinion, the Alternative Media is much more prolific today than during the Ron Paul Presidential run. The Alternative Media actually holds tremendous influence in this era.

        So, when Trump captured the hearts of many in the Alternative Media, he got some heavy milage for the campaign.
        The Alex Jones/Trump interview of Dec 2015 was just the beginning.
        Many in the alternative media ignored some of Trump’s weird ideas (e.g. “I’m the most militaristic person there is” and Iran is a threat, etc.)
        InfoWars was gung ho Trump…and many other Alternative Media folks followed suit. That is a vast audience.

        I think that the Trump campaign recognized the value of the power of Alternative Media. I believe that the Trump campaign “recruited” the Alternative Media.
        We do know for sure that Hillary would never be able to use the Alternative Media. She only had the MainStreamMedia on her side.

        The MainStreamMedia will never report how powerful the Alternative Media is. Perhaps a good data collections service, good psychographics, would spot this fact. Armed with this one fact, a campaign like Trump’s could have a chance in an election.

  4. James Corbett highlights a very important point…
    The government and corporations are NOT all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful.

    INCOMPETENCE & “don’t care attitude” by government and corporate employees is a supporting factor. In many respects this is a blessing, but when it comes to “nuclear arms” or “chemical poisons” or GMOs or DNA, it is a curse.

    After all, many people take a government or corporate job because it is a stable, easy ride. An employee is not required to care. His job is typically useless anyway. And who really reads all those reports and forms? Most folks are there solely for the paycheck, not for the welfare of others nor the welfare of the employer.

    So, we hear stories such as EPA employees spending many hours watching porn or playing the “place the poop” game. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060004793
    Who has not had a nightmare when dealing with some corporation’s customer service department?

    The examples of “incompetence” and “not caring” within corporations and government are endless. Even dark operations and false flag events and “suicides” are full of flubs.

    Mega companies like Google and Facebook become so obesely constipated with bureaucracy that their shoelaces get tangled and they forget to zip up their fly.

    I occasionally imagine the massive unemployment which would occur if the IRS were eliminated. Millions of jobs would disappear because there would no longer be a need to fill out useless, complex forms.

  5. john.o,
    I found your story of the “talk” very insightful.

  6. Knowing what we are up against, I feel like some animal in a slaughterhouse that has been somehow enlightened to the fact of its present and future situation.

    I’m glad I’m old. hehe

  7. “And, if it is true that the horror at the creepiness fades with the generations, what is responsible for that?”

    Government school conditioning, and the cool factor of the darling tech (read spy) companies–the moronic Apple-bots and the even more moronic Tesla-adorers.

  8. Maybe the big secret is that’s it’s pitifully easy to control group dynamics, group think and politically correct perception… ?
    It sure seems so.

    • Started watching at the Al Gore link. Very interesting! I’ll have to watch the whole thing. Also, that George Orwell quote (which I guess I’d never heard before) was very interesting:

      “The true genius in advertising is to sell you the solution and the problem.”

  9. “Vaccines” – YouTube Search and comments

    Corbett’s mention of Vaccines within his recent Yellen article prompted me to see how YouTube would rank vaccine videos…and what the comments were.

    I was amazed at all the pro-vaccine videos which came up. And I was amazed at all the pro-vaccine comments.

    I don’t buy it.
    In my opinion…
    They are really straining to paint a picture that the public consensus is passionately pro-vaccine, that all sane people are pro-vaccine. YouTube video ranking and Astroturfing comments strain at this.

    When was the last time I saw a passionate “pro-vaccine” grassroots protest?
    … or a passionate “pro-GMO” grassroots protest?
    … or a passionate “pro-pesticide” grassroots protest?
    … or a passionate “pro-Fluoridate our water” grassroots protest?

    I guess that would be one way to get MainStreamMedia news coverage.
    Stage a pro-corporate agenda protest and say silly things like: “Yes, this will save people from starving and is worth the price of causing cancer and health problems.” “Yes, the big corporations make billions off of health damaging products but we need them to so they can pay their shareholders dividends and keep the stock market afloat.”

  10. So much excellent food for thought here.

    First though, on a totally childish tip, am I the only one who got a chuckle out of the hypothetical example of what two different women might be taking into consideration when thinking about buying a candle?

    On a more serious, abstractly related note, along with the thought of sexualization of a commodity of some sort where this wouldn’t be the primary interpretation of the given product, it’s no secret that as a society we’re constantly bombarded by a sort of “hypersexualization”; typically to sell us various products. After all, I think it’s safe to say that like just about any other animal, our instinctual drive to reproduce is hardwired on a primal fundamental level, perhaps only second to love (at least in most cases, whether or not that’s apparent even to one’s self at first glance;). At least with humans it seems that love is one of the primary elements “hardwired” into us which, most easily noted in terms of survival, applies to the parent/child relationship and beyond that, more broadly, the family, relatives, followed by community, finally, on the more exploited level the Nation State etc.

    Back to the topic of “hypersexualization”, probably no more crassly in your face does this seem to be apparent to me than it does in the case of the music industry. Particularly music videos. It’s so over the top that I often find myself feeling “old fashioned” in the kind of disgust much of it evokes in me when I see it.

    I’ve often pondered about why this seems to have accelerated to the extent that it has and I’ve come up with at least one hypothesis of sorts:

    I’m all for feminism to the extent that it applies to women being able to assert their femininity in a self affirming and empowering manner, freed from the common subservient nature which exist within the patriarchal order of most societies. I think there’s been significant progress on many levels over the years, much of it which is positive and encouraging. However, it’s no secret that much of this progress has been hijacked for nefarious motives. I think this community is well enough informed on the broad strokes of what this entails that further outlining on my part is unnecessary.

    Back to my “hypothesis” – I remember raising an eyebrow when Beyonce’ took to identifying herself as a feminist. Then I thought about it some. Again, I’m all for the concept of women being able to wear what they want and present themselves in whatever manner makes them feel sexy. Still, when it comes to looking “sexy”, ultimately it begs the question; look sexy for who?

    The Beyonce’ brand of feminism is making a sort of assertion that women presenting themselves in a way which is sexy; in a sort of domineering way (“look at how sexy I am that I can make the men swoon and do whatever I want for me”) is an expression of presenting themselves as being in a position of power, particularly in relation to men. Yet it fails to take into account that there’s a fundamentally unequal biological and in turn, social dynamic which puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to “power” in relation to men on a sexual level reproductively, not to mention on level of sexual violence which women are subject to at disturbing levels. I think the sort of cheapening of sex in pop culture, most notably in the music industry, is a method of selling women, particularly the most young and impressionable, a false sense of what it means to be empowered by emphasizing their sexuality as a commodity (which in turn is exploited endlessly by a limitless line of products and services…), when the tangible means of “empowerment” socially exist in areas of intellectual, social, and artistic pursuits. Music could be one of the areas where this plays out, but there’s a reason why many women struggle to find longevity in an industry which is so focused on the importance of appearance (quite often in the absence of artistic talent).

    Many more thoughts on the larger topic discussed in the podcast, but I’ll leave it there for now.

  11. Actually, more briefly…

    There’s a science fiction movie “Ex Machina” (which I highly recommend), where I see this topic being manifested. For those of you who aren’t familiar I’ll present the storyline, taken from IMDB.

    Caleb, a 26 year old programmer at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl.

    On that note:

    Initially Caleb is led to believe that his selection is based in part at random and in part due to his general intelligence and general talent as a programmer. Towards the end it’s revealed that in reality, Caleb has been selected based on his background: “no family” (his parents died in a car crash), his search engine input and online profile; “they showed a good kid with a strong moral compass”, and the fact that he had “no girlfriend”, after which point Caleb, realizing the creepiness to the extent he’s been manipulated, asks whether Nathan designed Ava (the AI’s) appearance based on his “pornography profile”, to which Nathan laughs and says: “if a search engine is good for anything, right?”.

    Essentially, Nathan plays on Caleb’s vulnerabilities at what proves to be great emotional expense in order to see whether Ava is smart enough to manipulate Caleb into helping her escape from captivity. I mention this movie because I think it’s a pretty good example of how a person with extensive access to personal information can use that information for their own purposes at that person’s own expense. We know of things like Facebook’s use of social engineering experiments in seeing to what extent people can be emotionally manipulated. No doubt this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this sort of social experimentation.

    • Interesting storyline. Thanks Benny. I’ll check it out. …and Joe Bob Briggs says check it out.

      • Cool, usually I don’t feel compelled to recommend non-documentary types of films here, but I feel that this one has a relevant underlying sub context which other members would find thought provoking. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it =]

        The director, Alex Garland, commented in an interview (I forget which one) on the fact that he found it interesting that in the age of the Snowden “revelations” (my phrasing, not his), people were alarmed about government surveillance, yet generally seem to have little concern for the ways in which huge tech companies like Facebook and Google might use information in which people are freely submitting. One of the things which makes this topic of psychographics important to consider is that, at face value, many of these technologies seem like good things to the average person, or at worst, relatively benign.

  12. Am currently reading ‘Hiding From The Internet’ by Michael Bazzell. There are some useful techniques and strategies, what is effective and not. We should all be employing these ideas.

    Also his ‘Open Source Intelligence Techniques’ looks interesting.

    • The reviews of these books look pretty good. I appreciate it.

  13. I was just thinking about this very topic, and mentioned to a friend that if all they want (and need to produce their product) is the data, then would it not be appropriate to deny the snooping vacuum machine by protesting across the world in a Moral Mondays type boycott called “Batteries Out.” Every Monday, at a specified time and for a significant duration, all personal electronics in ones home may be turned off and the batteries taken out, so that data is denied… Willpower and saving electricity at the same time… I suppose if we wanted to get the attention of the snoops at the highest level, we could all google the same sentence that is wordy enough to be unmistakable the moment we put the batteries back in… It’s not illegal, the multitudes don’t have to all be in the same place at the same time, and it costs nothing while doing everything we may already be doing… ie. using cash, buying used, etc… Addicts will find this difficult at first, but people could compete with each other as to how long they were able to go without that spy in their pocket…;)

    • hammy, Some cool action ideas. Thanks.

  14. Personal one-on-one communication

    Personal face to face conversations are a real wild card for The Powers That Shouldn’t Be.

    The Black Community during the early civil rights era organized by personal communication. Churches, Barbershops, dance halls, employment settings, neighbors, families, events, etc. It wasn’t like the cracker TV or newspaper was going to relay information. It was word of mouth.

    Striking up conversations with strangers are fun. Conversation to the cashier in the store about GMO’s are fun when there is a line behind you and people easily overhear what you are saying.

    A few months back, a pawn shop opened in my neighborhood. I finally went in just to browse. In a graceful segue, I bring up 9/11 to the young guy at the counter. As we were talking, the old-man owner walks in. He knew about the 9/11 Cover-up in detail and was a survivor of the World Trade Center collapse. His story was remarkable. He is also a cancer survivor. I went home and returned to give them many packets of 9/11 DVDs/brochures to give out to folks.

    • Thank you for pointing that out, Mielia. The link has been corrected.

      • Hi James,
        thank you.
        Out of 5 links or so to which I wanted to look further into, two were false. So I did you a favor and looked into every other link in this episode. Every else led to the mentioned :).
        The second one is 4 Ways The Crime Lab Can Frame You at 39:07 which redirects to Jack Blood interviews James Corbett 8/27/12 instead of:

        Furthermore you have “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays linked twice, the second time between 52:09 and 55:10 with the time reference of 01:50.

        But now to an article to which I wanted to draw your attention, which I have also linked at my comment on episode 301: http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/05/cambridge-analytica-trump-and-the-new-old-fear-of-manipulating-the-masses/

        I think you could some up her opinion with the following quotes:
        “For over a century, there has been a recurrent theme of exaggerating and mythologizing the power of new communications technology to influence mass psychology.”
        “Current reporting on psychometric testing falls into the same logical fallacy. Psychometrics can apparently both measure people’s personalities and then manipulate them; psychometrics can simultaneously cause and reflect beliefs.” Questioning cause and reflect at its core.

        Kind regards,

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