"Propaganda Techniques" is based upon "Appendix I: PSYOP Techniques" from "Psychological Operations Field Manual No.33-1" published by Headquarters; Department of the Army, in Washington DC, on 31 August 1979
- Knowledge of propaganda techniques is necessary to improve one's own propaganda and to uncover enemy PSYOP stratagems. Techniques, however, are not substitutes for the procedures in PSYOP planning, development, or dissemination.
- Techniques may be categorized as:
- Characteristics of the content self-evident. additional information is required to recognize the characteristics of this type of propaganda. "Name calling" and the use of slogans are techniques of this nature.
- Additional information required to be recognized. Additional information is required by the target or analyst for the use of this technique to be recognized. "Lying" is an example of this technique. The audience or analyst must have additional information in order to know whether a lie is being told.
- Evident only after extended output. "Change of pace" is an example of this technique. Neither the audience nor the analyst can know that a change of pace has taken place until various amounts of propaganda have been brought into focus.
- Nature of the arguments used. An argument is a reason, or a series of reasons, offered as to why the audience should behave, believe, or think in a certain manner. An argument is expressed or implied.
- Inferred intent of the originator. This technique refers to the effect the propagandist wishes to achieve on the target audience. "Divisive" and "unifying" propaganda fall within this technique. It might also be classified on the basis of the effect it has on an audience.
- Appeal to Authority. Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position idea, argument, or course of action.
- Assertion. Assertions are positive statements presented as fact. They imply that what is stated is self-evident and needs no further proof. Assertions may or may not be true.
- Bandwagon and Inevitable Victory. Bandwagon-and-inevitable-victory appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to take a course of action "everyone else is taking." "Join the crowd." This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their interest to join. "Inevitable victory" invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already, or partially, on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is the best course of action.
- Obtain Disapproval. This technique is used to get the audience to disapprove an action or idea by suggesting the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus, if a group which supports a policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people also support it, the members of the group might decide to change their position.
- Glittering Generalities. Glittering generalities are intensely emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. They appeal to such emotions as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. Though the words and phrases are vague and suggest different things to different people, their connotation is always favorable: "The concepts and programs of the propagandist are always good, desirable, virtuous."
Generalities may gain or lose effectiveness with changes in conditions. They must, therefore, be responsive to current conditions. Phrases which called up pleasant associations at one time may evoke unpleasant or unfavorable connotations at another, particularly if their frame of reference has been altered.