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Records Show Obama Hired Behavioral Experts to Expand Use of Govt. Programs - Judicial Watch
Judicial Watch ^ | 09/08/2016 | Judicial Watch

Posted on 09/09/2016 8:24:36 AM PDT by MarchonDC09122009

Records Show Obama Hired Behavioral Experts to Expand Use of Govt. Programs - Judicial Watch

Records Show Obama Hired Behavioral Experts to Expand Use of Govt. Programs

SEPTEMBER 08, 2016

The Obama administration quietly hired 20 social and behavioral research experts to help expand the use of government programs at dozens of agencies by, among other things, simplifying federal forms, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. The controversial group of experts is collectively known as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) and it functions under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

In 2015 Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to use behavioral science to sell their programs to the public, the records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. By then the government had contracted “20 leading social and behavioral research experts” that at that point had already been involved in “more than 75 agency collaborations,” the records state. A memo sent from SBST chair Maya Shankar, a neuroscientist, to OSTP Director John Holdren offers agencies guidance and information about available government support for using behavioral insights to improve federal forms. Sent electronically, the memo is titled “Behavioral Science Insights and Federal Forms.”

The records, obtained from the OSTP under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), also include a delivery by Holdren in which he insists that the social and behavioral sciences “are real science, with immensely valuable practical applications—the views of a few members of Congress to the contrary notwithstanding—and that these sciences abundantly warrant continuing support in the Federal science and technology budget.” Holdren, a Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate is a peculiar character who worked as an environmental professor at Harvard and the University of California Berkeley before becoming Obama’s science advisor. In the late 70s he co-authored a book with doomsayer Paul Ehrlich advocating for mandatory sterilization of the American people and forced abortions in order to depopulate the country. A head of the OSTP Holdren technically oversees the SBST.

Information about this absurd behavioral team remains sketchy because the administration, which claims to be the most transparent in history, withheld nearly 100 pages of records that could have shed light on the taxpayer-funded group’s secret operations. The Obama administration cited an exemption—officially known as B5—that applies to deliberative process, which allows government officials to discuss policy without the discussions being made public, or attorney client privilege. In this case it appears that the administration used the deliberative process exemption to withhold the records since it’s unlikely that attorney client privilege applies. B5 is the most abused of the FOIA exemptions and is regularly used to hide material that may embarrass the government.

That appears to be the case in this instance, though we’ll never know for certain because it’s unlikely the SBST records will ever be released since it’s very difficult to challenge B5 exemptions. Americans should be concerned that the government is employing behavioral experts to use psychological techniques in order to manipulate the behavior of its citizens. This makes it all the more imperative that the discussions between these government officials be exposed to the public and not shielded through a specious claim of “deliberative process.”

In its first annual report to the president last year, the SBST writes that it works to identify how behavioral insights can be integrated into federal agency programs in order to help agencies achieve their missions and objectives. This, it claims, will better serve the nation. The new group’s projects “are designed to address only the behavioral barriers that affect how people engage with programs,” the report says. It includes a list of federal agencies that have worked with SBST to coordinate the application of social and behavioral research to “advance policy and program goals.” They include the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Treasury, Justice and Labor as well as the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “When behavioral insights—research findings from behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them—are brought into policy, the returns are significant,” according to the SBST report.

© 2010-2016 Judicial Watch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2015; 201509; 2016election; b5; behavioral; behavioralexperts; behavioralscience; behaviorexperts; bigbrother; casssunstein; halpern; holdren; judicialwatch; jw; manipulation; mayashankar; nsa; nudge; obama; obamapropaganda; ostp; prism; propaganda; sbst; secrecy; socialscience; thenudge
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Obama, Holdren, and fellow leftists work tirelessly to manipulate the masses via mining citizen's data, and market government programming accordingly.

This relates to his Sept 15 2015 Behavioral Science Executive Order that funded a massive federal interagency effort to create citizen behavioral databases to "better deliver government services".

1 posted on 09/09/2016 8:24:36 AM PDT by MarchonDC09122009
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To: MarchonDC09122009

POS. Thank You Congress...for letting this go on.

2 posted on 09/09/2016 8:26:31 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: MarchonDC09122009

The Teat Hooker Team

3 posted on 09/09/2016 8:27:08 AM PDT by headstamp 2 (Fear is the mind killer.)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

Obama, Holdren, and fellow leftists work tirelessly to manipulate the masses


And the Republicans fund their devious programs.

4 posted on 09/09/2016 8:30:15 AM PDT by Starboard
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To: MarchonDC09122009

Nothing new. For years the Dept. of Agriculture has employed psychologists to research ways of overcoming “pride-based resistance” to signing-up for food stamps.

5 posted on 09/09/2016 8:30:30 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MarchonDC09122009
Here is the executive order mentioned in the article:

Executive Order -- Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People

6 posted on 09/09/2016 8:30:33 AM PDT by snarkpup (Hillary gets flak because she's being exposed; Trump gets flak because he's over the target.)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

And where were the Republicans in the House, where all spending bills are supposed to originate? Sucking their thumbs and sitting on their azzes. Then they are shocked that voters are sick of them and want to replace them with someone who actually cares that our country is going to hell, led by Satan’s coven of ungodly university types.

7 posted on 09/09/2016 8:32:20 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: MarchonDC09122009
Google "Department of Nudge"

Obama's Nudge Brigade: White House Embraces Behavioral ... - Forbes Forbes

Sep 16, 2015 - Behavioral “nudges” can increase college enrollment by low-income students, boost health insurance take up, encourage federal workers to ... The rise of nudge – the unit helping politicians to fathom human ... › ... › Central government The Guardian Jul 23, 2015 - David Halpern's behavioural insights team, or 'nudge unit', has .... “If you're a permanent secretary or head of department you have seen lots of ... DOL fiduciary rule will nudge 401(k) advisers to zero-revenue-share ...

Jun 28, 2016 - Fee-disclosure regulation handed down by the Labor Department in 2012 and ongoing lawsuits targeting excessive 401(k) fees, which many ...

8 posted on 09/09/2016 8:33:21 AM PDT by spokeshave (In the Thatch Weave,..Trump's Wing Man is Truth.)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

Obama also perfected Government level Gold and Money Smuggling

9 posted on 09/09/2016 8:36:10 AM PDT by butlerweave
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To: MarchonDC09122009

“The Obama administration quietly hired 20 social and behavioral research experts to help expand the use of government programs at dozens of agencies...”

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. - list of grievances; Declaration

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


War. November 8. Be there.

soap box, ballot box,

10 posted on 09/09/2016 8:41:35 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: EagleUSA
POS. Thank You Congress...for letting this go on.

Paul Ryan needs to grow a backbone and start supporting the American people - THEN he needs to get surgery to remove his lips from his donor's butts.

11 posted on 09/09/2016 8:45:14 AM PDT by GOPJ (Hillary's defense - "I'm not a criminal, I'm just incompetent and slow witted" - freeper Iron Munro)
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To: spokeshave
Google "Department of Nudge"

I did. Thanks. (never heard of it before)

12 posted on 09/09/2016 8:46:27 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: butlerweave

Our government does psy ops on us.

13 posted on 09/09/2016 8:54:18 AM PDT by phormer phrog phlyer
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To: spokeshave

Excellent additional info, Spokeshave.

Here’s more, right from Harvard promoting gov’t Behavioral Science as a way to change collective thinking on many matters, including climate change...

Behavioral economics
Why the U.S. Government Is Embracing Behavioral Science

Francesca Gino

September 18, 2015



For anyone interested in human behavior and decision making, September 15 will likely be a day to remember. On that day, President Obama ordered government agencies to use behavioral science insights to “better serve the American people.” In his executive order, Obama instructed federal agencies to identify policies and operations where applying findings from behavioral science could improve “public welfare, program outcomes, and program cost effectiveness,” design strategies for using behavioral science insights, and recruit behavioral experts whenever considered necessary or helpful. (Here is the full report by the White House Social and Behavioral Science Team, which discusses some of the work that has been already conducted using behavioral insights.)

This order reflects the evidence that scholars across a variety of fields — from behavioral economics to psychology to behavioral decision research — have accumulated in recent years that people often fail to make rational choices. Across a wide range of contexts, we often make foolish decisions that go against our self-interest. We exercise too little and eat too much. We spend too much, don’t save enough, and wind up heavily in debt.

Such deviations from rationality, well documented in the decision-making literature, are consistent across time and populations. For example, the typical person would dislike losing $50 more than he would enjoy gaining $50, which would not be the case if he were fully rational. And when making decisions, people tend to give disproportionate weight to information that readily comes to mind (a recent discussion, for example) and overlook more pertinent information that is harder to retrieve from memory. Again, this shouldn’t happen to so-called “rational agents.”

Public policy has often relied on assumptions of rationality when accounting for human behavior, which has led to suboptimal policies in the past. For example, citizens are sometimes bombarded by mass-media campaigns (designed to decrease smoking, increase seat-belt use, etc.) that assume they will be able to process an onslaught of messages to their best advantage. But such campaigns often have not worked, and may even have backfired at times.

Over the last decade or so, insights from behavioral science have been applied to public policy issues such as tax payments, medical decisions, consumer health and wellness, and climate-change mitigation. Consider work conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), an organization set up in the United Kingdom to apply “nudges” to improve government policy and services. (A nudge, a term introduced by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, is any aspect of a process that changes how people behave in predictable ways “without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.”)

For example, in one study, the BIT partnered with the U.K. Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to change the wording of the letter sent to people who were delinquent in paying their vehicle taxes. Departing from the complex legal language of the existing letter, the new letter in effect told people to “pay your tax or lose your car.” To make the demand more personal, some of the letters also included a photo of the car in question. The rewritten letter increased the number of people paying the tax; the rewrite with the photo changed behavior even more dramatically.

Another successful nudge (not involving BIT) involved sending letters to residential users of high amounts of energy in San Marcos, Calif. To influence them to consume less energy, the letters told them how their consumption compared with that of their neighbors. Finding out that they were consuming more than others like them triggered strong negative emotions that in turn led to behavioral changes and a 10% reduction in energy consumption.

Nudges like these speak to the power of developing interventions and policies that consider people for what they are: creatures whose information-processing capacity and emotions limit them from being rational agents. Well-designed behavioral studies can offer policymakers useful insights into human behavior that can improve policies. Such studies are applicable to a wide range of policy areas, wherever human behavior plays a role.

Similarly, as I wrote in the past, organizations can identify more effective management practices through a better understanding of human behavior. The implications could be wide ranging, from helping employees adopt healthier habits to increasing their happiness and productivity at work.

In its cafeterias, Google has experimented with this idea to encourage employees to adopt healthier eating habits. When “Googlers” reach for a plate, they encounter a sign informing them that people with bigger plates are inclined to eat more than those with smaller plates. Thanks to this simple change, the proportion of people using small plates has increased by 50%.

Or consider how simple interventions can increase employee happiness and productivity. Lalin Anik, Lara Aknin, Michael Norton, Elizabeth Dunn, and Jordi Quoidbach conducted a series of field experiments in which they found that when employees share their bonuses with coworkers and charities, they are more satisfied and perform at a higher level than those who don’t. Giving employees opportunities to spend money on others increases happiness, job satisfaction, and team performance, their research discovered.

As another example, a few years ago, my colleagues and I conducted a study in collaboration with a major U.S. car insurance company. We sent 13,488 of the company’s customers a form that asked them to report the number of miles they had driven the prior year, as indicated on their cars’ odometers. Cheating by under-reporting mileage would come with the financial benefit of lower insurance premiums. On about half of the forms sent out, customers were supposed to sign to indicate their truthfulness at the bottom of the page. The other half of the forms asked the customers to sign at the top of the page. The average mileage reported by customers who signed the form at the top was more than 2,400 miles higher than that reported by those who signed at the bottom. The simple change put customers in a more honest mindset.

Behavioral science can help managers design new practices, suggest improvements to existing ones, or provide ex-post explanations of why people reacted in a particular way. In short, using insights from behavioral science can have profound benefits across government and business, and more are being implemented every day. So, are you ready for a nudge?

Francesca Gino is a professor at Harvard Business School, a faculty affiliate of the Behavioral Insights Group at Harvard Kennedy School, and the author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She cochairs an HBS executive education program on applying behavioral economics to organizational problems. Twitter: @francescagino.
This article is about BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS
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Vinvolv App 11 months ago

Governments (and businesses) can also use behavioral science when tackling climate change and promoting sustainability, where a shift in collective behavior is required.

14 posted on 09/09/2016 8:54:38 AM PDT by MarchonDC09122009 (When is our next march on DC? When have we had enough?)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

1984 has arrived and Orwell was right....

15 posted on 09/09/2016 8:56:04 AM PDT by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: phormer phrog phlyer

RE: “Our government does psy ops on us.”

Yes, per the NSA Prism program which came to light during Snowden revelations.
US citizens are afforded no informed consent to opt out of participating, review or appeal of erroneous citizen database information.

NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others | US news | The Guardian

US national security
Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty
NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others
• Top-secret Prism program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Apple and Facebook
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

16 posted on 09/09/2016 9:00:41 AM PDT by MarchonDC09122009 (When is our next march on DC? When have we had enough?)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

I saw a documentary on this, where they sent government social workers into Appelacia (spelling) to force these folks onto food stamps and welfare folks wanted NO PART of government handouts! The government was forced to open seed shops where the people could buy seeds for vegetables and such to grow their OWN food paid for with the food stamps before the communities would TOUCH the government money!!! Government was SO PROUD of itself that they broke the barrier and increased the number of folks on government programs!!! It was just SICKENING!!!

17 posted on 09/09/2016 9:05:25 AM PDT by Trump Girl Kit Cat (Yosemite Sam raising hell)
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To: MarchonDC09122009

The Alinsky plan to taking over a country - get as many as possible dependent upon the government.

18 posted on 09/09/2016 9:06:20 AM PDT by CottonBall
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To: MarchonDC09122009



19 posted on 09/09/2016 9:19:08 AM PDT by Mr. K (Trump will win NY state - choke on that HilLIARy)
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To: MarchonDC09122009
Government has been manipulating public opinion since at least the late 1920’s through the work of Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee, the founders of what is now known as “public relations.”
20 posted on 09/09/2016 9:20:06 AM PDT by JGT
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