Designing an Ethical Structure for Social Influence Marketing (SIM)

Designing an Ethical Structure for Social Influence Marketing (SIM)

Stephen Brock Schafer (Digipen Institute of Technology, USA) and Thomas Palamides (Government of Canada, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-168-9.ch013
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Unprecedented advances in media technology have created the need to define ethics for a media-age ontology that combines the dynamics of physics and psychology. This unprecedented human reality has been called the media-sphere, and it appears to have all the dimensions and dynamics of dreams as defined by Carl Jung. Because of the dreamlike dynamics and structural dimensions of the media sphere, its psychological dynamics may be contemplated in terms of Jungian dream analysis which is intrinsically ethical. The Jungian model for dream analysis is structurally and dynamically consistent with the most recent discoveries in cognitive research. Because of its subjective, emotive, interactive integrity as defined by Aristotle’s dramatic unities, dramatic structure is a common denominator for the study of conscious-unconscious cognitive states. This chapter explores the ethics of social influence marketing (SIM) relative to the dynamics and standards of morality implied by cognitive principles of Analytical Psychology.
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Designing An Ethical Structure For Social Influence Marketing (Sim)

The subject of ethics is vast. “Ethics has been termed the study and philosophy of human conduct, with an emphasis on the determination of right and wrong” (Ferrell, 2010). As such, everyone is a stakeholder. Ferrell points out that, “Marketing is a key functional area in a business that provides a visible interface with not only customers, but other stakeholders such as the media, investors, regulatory agencies, channel members, trade associations, as well as others.” Among the many possible perspectives on ethics, this paper goes beyond the personal, organizational, and even societal view and presumes to address the archetypal view afforded by research on dimensions of the cognitive unconscious. Though philosophers have long speculated on a priori dimensions, such dimensions have only recently become susceptible to scientific scrutiny. Though the influences on human reality of sciences like physics, genetics, and technological media are at least vaguely familiar to people, the influence of the cognitive sciences such as psychiatry and cognitive linguistics is obscure. We have barely begun to consider ethics from the angle of the former, and we have—so far—completely neglected ethics of the latter. If anything, applications of cognitive science to marketing have been profoundly unethical.

Aristotle defined the purpose of ethical behavior as promoting and improving the common good. As a litmus test, he asked whether actions performed by individuals or groups are good both for an individual or a group and for society. A comprehensive review of philosophy, myth, history, the arts, and sciences would affirm a broad consensus on this point. The rub is that everyone doesn’t agree on the details as to what is good for the individual and society. Aristotle said it is necessary to possess three virtues of practical wisdom: temperance, courage, and justice. In this modern era, such virtues appear idealistic, and this is the fundamental problem with marketing behavior today. Because unethical behavior has been so profitable, the meaning and function of ethics has been obfuscated.

If one applies Aristotle’s definition, marketing during the last half of the twentieth century has been intrinsically unethical. It has flown in the face of virtue and the common good. From the very beginnings of Public Relations (PR) as defined by Edward Bernays, advertising practices based on Freudian principles have been intended to serve a wealthy elite and to control the “masses” of people. The origins of psychological advertising are well documented in the BBC Documentary: Century of the Self. (Curtis, 2009, Happiness Machines) Originally motivated by a paranoid fear of the collective unconscious, “Public Relations” began as a method for controlling the “masses”, and this control has taken the form of deception and manipulation in which any sort of “truth in advertising” has been irrelevant. In short, governments and industry have employed the psychological principles of Public Relations throughout the latter half of the twentieth century with devastating results.

Applications of unethical PR in advertising have altered human values and changed personal choices and actions from a basis in needs to a basis in wants. (ibid.) Applied to foreign and domestic policy, the same propagandistic marketing practices that created the Consumer Culture have contributed to the creation of a psychological worldview based on fear (paranoia), militarism (defensiveness), covert violence (repression & regression), and a perpetual war mentality (conflict & hate) throughout the world. (Curtis, 2009, Nightmare)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Amplification Method of Analytical Psychology: “The subjective, individual meaning of the dream is supplied by subjective amplification; i.e., the analyst asks the dreamer what each dream element means to him personally. Then…the dream elements are enriched with the universal, symbolic material of fairy tales, myths, etc., which illuminate the universal aspect of the problem that concerns every human being.” (Jacoby p. 89)

Media Dream: The symbolic, semiotic, metaphorical map projected by a culture’s visual media—particularly film, television, the Internet, and video games—that afford insight as to psychic harmony or imbalance of a culture.

Compensation in Analytical Psychology: “As a rule the orientation of the unconscious is complementary or compensatory to the conscious attitude. ‘The more one-sided [the] conscious attitude is, and the further it deviates from the optimum, the greater becomes the possibility that vivid dreams with a strongly contrasting but purposive content will appear as an expression of the self-regulation of the psyche.’ (Jacoby, p 78, quoting from Jung, General aspects of dream psychology, p 253)

Psychological Immersion: As applied in the dramatic arts, psychological immersion is known as suspension of disbelief. In current cognitive research, it applies mostly to the psychic function called emotion and is defined mostly in terms of feeling associations. I use the term relative to the infinite field of the unconscious—including elements of all the Jungian functions—not just the emotions. Immersion is a process of temporarily expanding consciousness into areas of the unconscious—something like hypnosis, but retaining consciousness as one does in lucid dreaming states.

Coherence: “The various concepts and measurements embraced under the term coherence have become central to fields as diverse as quantum physics, cosmology, physiology, and brain and consciousness research. Coherence has several related definitions, all of which are applicable to the study of human psychology, social interactions, and global affairs. The most common dictionary definition is ‘the quality of being logically integrated, consistent, and intelligible,’ as in a coherent statement.” (McCraty & Childre)

Dream Paradigm: Because they have the same structure, SIM can simulate dreams in order to map the “territory” of the personal and collective unconscious for the purpose of psychological compensation and subsequent healing.

Cognitive Framing: In the language of the brain, words and thoughts are defined relative to narrative frames and conceptual metaphors. “The very fact that we recognize these cultural narratives and frames means that they are instantiated physically in our brains. We are not born with them, but we start growing them soon, and as we acquire the deep narratives, our synapses change and become fixed.” (Lakoff p. 33-34)

Psychecology: The infinite field of psyche-physics as “energy” E=Mc² in conjunction with the Jungian functions of psyche. This field is in constant movement and transformation based on the function of “mediation.” In its many forms, this mediation may be understood in terms of language including: mathematics (algorithms & Fourier transforms), symbolism, and the narrative architecture of metaphor & cognitive framing. The psychecology is a relatively holistic state of being (enactive mediated correspondence) that includes not only a dream-like illusion, the “world out there,” but the archetypal patterns that are synchronous with subatomic patterns (spin types) of “the world in here.” The term may be applied to a Narrative Architecture—an emergent, holographic, psychological structure that seems to exist as a dramatic unity (Aristotle, Jung); i.e. a consciousness of time, place, and action that integrates subject and object reference in a stream of consciousness which includes memory, projection, fantasy, and paranormal states.Subject perspective + choice + object perspective = holographic unityView sequence (place) + action + Plot sequence (time) = dramatic unitySubject + verb + object = syntactic unity

Character Premise: The premise is the truth that is learned by the character as a result of his experiences. A premise can be defined relative to participants in a target group. In order to promote predictable behavior.

Contextuality: Jung’s principle of compensation demands that dream interpretation must incorporate significant familiarity and understanding of the individual or patient who is doing the dreaming. In order for DBG software to provide authentic compensation, the game must be specifically programmed to the psychological profile or “context” of the player.

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