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Professor Robert Hinde. St John's Cambridge

This book addresses the questions of how to influence both the home population and the enemy in times of conflict. Aimed primarily at service personnel and politicians, it can be read by a much wider audience as an elementary introduction to the science of communication. It includes a chapter on ‘The science of influence’ by Lee Rowland. Analysing the nature of conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo,Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan,largely on the basis of personal experience, the authors describe the use (or misuse) of communication. Messages and policies crafted in Whitehall often proved irrelevant on the ground. Communication is never simple. The message sent by the sender (S) may have a different meaning to the recipient (R) to that intended by S. Attempts by US soldiers to stop Iraqi youths throwing stones at them by distributing leaflets demanding that the children should stop did not work because the children interpreted the message as indicative of their own success. The success of a message depends not only on accurate transmission but also on what R expects, desires and does, and may be influenced by a larger communication system in which S and R are embedded.

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