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Cornell Prof Jeffrey T. Hancock behind FaceBook's Pentagon Minerva PsyOps "Emotional Contagion;" Now covering Their Tracks?

Facebook Apologizes For Manipulating Your Emotions
Published on Jul 2, 2014

Social media giant forced to apologize for mass psychological experiment.

Why is Facebook Manipulating Your Emotions?
Published on Jun 30, 2014

Why did Facebook alter the feeds of 700,000 users as part of a secret experiment to manipulate people's emotions?

FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @

Cover Up Surrounding Pentagon Funding of Facebook’s Psychological Experiment?
Army Research Office's bankrolling of 'emotional contagion' study scrubbed from Cornell press release

"However, an even more creepy connection between the Facebook experiment and the Pentagon has emerged after it was revealed that the original press release from Cornell highlighting the study included a passage at the bottom which read, “The study was funded in part by the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Army Research Office.”"

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 2, 2014

Was there a cover-up surrounding the Pentagon’s direct funding of Facebook’s notorious mass psychological study in order to conceal the fact that the experiment’s true purpose was part of preparations to manipulate public opinion in times of civil unrest?

It now appears as though information indicating that the Department of Defense bankrolled the experiment was scrubbed from an online press release by Cornell University in order to hide the connection.

Here’s what we know for a fact to be true. Facebook’s mass psychological study, which proved that altering a user’s timeline feed was a successful method of causing emotional “contagion” to spread through the social network, was conducted in part by Cornell University’s Jeffrey T. Hancock, who was listed as one of the study’s authors.

BBC: Facebook faces UK probe over emotion study
The revelation of the study has sparked criticism from some Facebook users

A UK regulator is investigating whether Facebook broke data protection laws when it conducted a psychological study on users without their consent.

The test saw Facebook "manipulate" the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users to control which emotional expressions they were exposed to.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it planned to question Facebook over the study.

Facebook said it had taken "appropriate protections for people's information".

More on Jeffrey T. Hancock's FB & Pentagon Minerva PsyOps program:

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of United States of America
vol. 111 no. 24
June 17, 2014

Adam D. I. Kramer,
Jamie E. Guillory, and
Jeffrey T. Hancockc,

Core Data Science Team, Facebook, Inc., Menlo Park, CA 94025;
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143; and
Departments of Communication and Information Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Edited by Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved March 25, 2014 (received for review October 23, 2013)


We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.


Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

Pentagram's official Minerva Initiative site:

University-Led Research

Funded Minerva research projects and their corresponding institutions and principal investigators are listed below; click each to learn more. All awards from 2013 and earlier are described in greater detail in the Fall 2013 Minerva Research Summaries and Resources book.

Announcing the 2014 Minerva Research Awards

The Minerva Steering Committee is pleased to announce it has selected twelve proposals for the cadre of 2014 awards. As usual, the selection process was extremely competitive. The Department solicited proposals in several topics of strategic importance last fall and received a total of 261 white papers and 63 full proposals. The total funds awarded for this set of projects is expected to be around six million dollars in the first year and $17 million over three years.

Research teams range from single investigators to large multi-university consortia, and all awarded projects are expected to be funded for at least three years (two eligible for an extension to five years). The twelve research efforts will include researchers from 32 academic institutions, including six non-U.S. universities and four industry or non-profit organizations.

Previous DP Threads on Minerva:

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

Guardian UK: Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements

Posted by
Nafeez Ahmed
Thursday 12 June 2014 02.00 EDT

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions." The project will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."

Meet The "Minerva Research Initiative" - The Pentagon's Preparation For "Mass Civil Breakdown

Meet The "Minerva Research Initiative" - The Pentagon's Preparation For "Mass Civil Breakdown"

Submitted by Tyler Durden
06/15/2014 21:24 -0400

About a month ago we showed photos of the Chinese police engaged in a drill designed to crush a "working class insurrection", in which the police did precisely what would be required to end a middle class rebellion. It made us wonder: what does China know that the US doesn't. As it turns out, nothing.

Because long before China was practicing counter-riot ops using rubber bullets, all the way back in 2008 the US Department of Defense was conducting studies on the dynamics of civil unrest, and how the US military might best respond. The name of the project: "Minerva Research Initiative" and its role is to " “improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S."

The Guardian which first revealed the details, reports that, "The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

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