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Vaughan Bell - The Observer

How to Win Wars By Influencing People's Behaviour

Social influence has traditionally been conceptualised as winning hearts and minds, but many military thinkers are now focused on a new approach informed by the behavioural sciences. A milestone in this approach has been the book Behavioural Conflict by Major General Andrew Mackay and Commander Steve Tatham, who co-ordinated influence-informed British military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book has become a core text for a new generation of officers and argues that changing behaviour – not beliefs or perceptions – is the key to military influence. This is an alternative to the propaganda or public relations model that says that getting the target audience to share your beliefs and understand key information is central, despite well-established research showing that beliefs and attitudes are relatively poor predictors of behaviour.............

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