go to center home page perception-space, perception war,
and perception operations
(perceived-effects)-based operations
click for Air University home page
home | AWC Gateway | Air University Library | military portal
other centers - strategy & technology | space | culture | pace | counterproliferation

see also influence ops page

see also cyberspace page

You're not who you think you are;
you're not who others think you are;
you're who you think others think you are!
--- Source Unknown

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
--- T. S. Eliot

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
--- Albert Einstein

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
--- Arthur Schopenhauer

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
--- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962 movie)

General SourcesBack to Top

  • See also Peck's Postulates, a short primer on international relations and the importance of perceptions
    • First, there are NO absolutes; perception is everything. It is not what we say or even what we do that matters. The only thing that matters is how the other party(ies) PERCEIVE what we're doing - because that is what controls how they react. Differing perceptions do not make one side wrong and the other right, but they do dictate what does or does not happen.

  • Reframing Perception-Space (P-Space): A Quick Overview of a Unifying Concept

  • Perception Warfare: a perspective for the future, by Friman, Swedish National Defence College, Dept of Operational Studies

  • Influence Net Modeling, including software from SAIC

  • The Mind Has No Firewall, by Thomas, in Parameters, Spring 1998
    • Defending friendly and targeting adversary data-processing capabilities of the body appears to be an area of weakness in the US approach to information warfare theory, a theory oriented heavily toward systems data-processing and designed to attain information dominance on the battlefield. Or so it would appear from information in the open, unclassified press. This US shortcoming may be a serious one, since the capabilities to alter the data- processing systems of the body already exist.

Perception Space or P-SpaceBack to Top Perception WarfareBack to Top
  • Perception Warfare: a perspective for the future, by Friman, Swedish National Defence College, Dept of Operational Studies

  • Glenn, Jerome and John Peterson. Information Warfare, Cyber Warfare, Perception Warfare and their Prevention. 60 min. Atlanta: World Future Society, 1995. Audiocassette.

Perception ManagementBack to Top Perception FailureBack to Top Plato's Allegory of the CaveBack to Top Augmented CognitionBack to Top Knowledge RepresentationBack to Top
  • What is a Knowledge Representation? by Davis, Shrobe, and Szolovits, MIT Labs
    • "What is a knowledge representation? We argue that the notion can best be understood in terms of five distinct roles it plays, each crucial to the task at hand:
      • "A knowledge representation (KR) is most fundamentally a surrogate, a substitute for the thing itself, used to enable an entity to determine consequences by thinking rather than acting, i.e., by reasoning about the world rather than taking action in it.
      • "It is a set of ontological commitments, i.e., an answer to the question: In what terms should I think about the world?
      • "It is a fragmentary theory of intelligent reasoning, expressed in terms of three components: (i) the representation's fundamental conception of intelligent reasoning; (ii) the set of inferences the representation sanctions; and (iii) the set of inferences it recommends.
      • "It is a medium for pragmatically efficient computation, i.e., the computational environment in which thinking is accomplished. One contribution to this pragmatic efficiency is supplied by the guidance a representation provides for organizing information so as to facilitate making the recommended inferences.
      • "It is a medium of human expression, i.e., a language in which we say things about the world."

  • Knowledge Representation additional references
SemioticsBack to Top
  • See also symbols and symbology on the Theory page

  • Semiotics for Beginners, by Chandler

  • Semiotics - organized links to resources

  • Open Semiotics Resource Center

  • Semiotics, handout by Walker, Oregon State University
    • Based on “semiosis,” the relationship between a sign, an object, and a meaning.
    • Langer’s Theory of Symbols

  • Langer, Susanne. Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art, Harvard Press, 1942
    • "In philosophy this disposition of problems is the most important thing that a school, a movement, or an age contributes. This is the "genius" of a great philosophy; in its light, systems arise and rule and die. Therefore a philosophy is characterized more by the formulation of its problems than by its solution of them. Its answers establish an edifice of facts; but its questions make the frame in which its picture of facts is plotted. They make more than the frame; they give the angle of perspective, the palette, the style in which the picture is drawn -- everything except the subject. In our questions lie our principles of analysis, and our answers may express whatever those principles are able to yield.
    • "Every society meets a new idea with its own concepts, its own tacit, fundamental way of seeing things: that is to say, with its own questions, its peculiar curiosity."
    • "The limits of thought are not so much set from outside, by the fullness or poverty of experiences that meet the mind, as from within, by the power of conception, the wealth of formulative notions with which the mind meets experiences. Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. A new idea is a light that illuminated presences which simply had no form for us before the light fell on them."
    • "symbolization is the essential act of mind"
    • "In the fundamental notion of symbolization — mystical, practical, or mathematical, it makes no difference — we have the keynote of all humanistic problems. In it lies a new conception of 'mentality,' that may illumine questions of life and consciousness, instead of obscuring them as traditional 'scientific methods' have done."
    • "The philosophical study of symbols is not a technique borrowed from other disciplines, not even from mathematics; it has arisen in the fields that the great advance of learning has left fallow. Perhaps it holds the seed of a new intellectual harvest, to be reaped in the next season of the human understanding."
    • "Language, in its literal capacity, is a stiff and conventional medium, unadapted to the expression of genuinely new ideas, which usually have to break in upon the mind through some great and bewildering metaphor."
    • "Art, on the other hand, has no consequence; it gives form to something that simply is there, as the intuitive organizing functions of sense give form to objects and spaces, color and sound."

Cultural ConflictBack to Top Reification or ObjectificationBack to Top
  • Reification - regarding something abstract as a material thing (aka Whitehead's "fallacy of misplaced concreteness")

  • references on reification

Memes, Metaphors, and SemanticsBack to Top Jung and Campbell, Archetypes and MythsBack to Top Reflexive ControlBack to Top
  • The Implications of Virtual Deception, by Pasanen, in Aerospace Power Chronicles -- Lefebvre believed, "We [the Soviet Union] can influence the channels of information and send messages which shift the flow of information in a way favorable to us" -- includes listing of ways reflexive control can be used

  • Russian Information-Psychological Actions: Implications for U.S. PSYOP (local copy), FMSO study -- section on reflexive control and how Russians have used it
  • Dialectical Versus Empirical Thinking: Ten Key Elements of the Russian Understanding of Information Operations (local copy), FMSO study (see first endnote re: reflexive control)
  • Human Network Attacks (local copy), FMSO study (see especially section titled "Reflexive Control: an Information Weapon Subset")
      • "In military actions, attacking minds_that is the primary mission; attacking fortifications, that is a secondary mission. Psychological war is the main thing. Combat is secondary." — Third Century Chinese Military Theoretician

    • Russian military theorist S.A. Komov has written that RC [reflexive control] is a form of "intellectual" IW. He offered the following eleven types of intellectual IW for use against systems, people, alliances or forces in the field:
      • Distraction—during preparatory stages of combat operations, creating a real or imaginary threat against one of the most vital enemy places such as flanks and rear, forcing him to reevaluate his decisions to operate on this or that axis.
      • Overload—often manifested by sending the enemy a large amount of conflicting information.
      • Paralysis—creating the belief of a specific threat to a vital interest or weak spot.
      • Exhaustion—cause the enemy to carry out useless operations, thereby entering combat with expended resources.
      • Deception—during preparatory stages of combat operations, force the enemy to reallocate forces to a threatened spot.
      • Divisive techniques—cause the enemy to believe he must operate in opposition to coalition interests.
      • Pacification—through a peaceful attitude and approach cause the enemy to lose vigilance.
      • Deterrence—create the impression of superiority.
      • Provocation—force enemy action advantageous to your side.
      • Suggestion—offer information that affects the enemy legally, morally, ideologically or in other areas.
      • Pressure—offer information that encourages society to discredit its own government.

  • Chotikul, Diane. Soviet Theory of Reflexive Control in Historical and Psychocultural Perspective: A Preliminary Study. Monterey, CA, Naval Postgraduate School (U.S.), Jul 1986. 118 p. Doc. call no.: M-U 42525-163
  • Reid, Clifford. "Reflexive Control in Soviet Military Planning," in Soviet Strategic Deception, edited by Brian Daily and Patrick Parker (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books)
Neocortical WarfareBack to Top Subliminal Persuasion, Perception, and PrimingBack to Top Examples and ReadingsBack to Top
  • The Influence of Foreign Culture on Air Force Contingency Contracting Operations, by Ruefer, AFIT paper

  • Desert Storm's Siren Song, by Lohide, in Airpower Journal, includes discussion of various types of warfare, including cultural warfare, and concludes (pre 9-11) with
    They will argue that change occurs so rapidly in today's information-based society that the United States must be proactive in incorporating the lessons of Desert Storm into its future defense plans. Actually, this view is dangerously myopic. Abundant evidence exists to suggest that the twenty-first century could be dominated by culturally based conflict. The strategy of paralysis is ineffective against such an amorphous threat. Therefore, creating a US military force that is overly dependent on a high-technology air arm would be, to use Howard's words, too wrong.

  • "The Coming Anarchy," by Kaplan, in The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 1994, discusses cultural-based warfare and its potential impact on the US

  • Saddam claims victory in Gulf War, CNN report
  • Who Really Won the War? series of quotes from observers and participants in the Gulf War

  • Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life, book by Jeremy Campbell
      The human observer cannot be excluded completely, because the idea of order is inextricably linked to the mind's awareness. Muddle, to some extent, is in the brain of the beholder. One person's disorder may be another person's order, depending on how much knowledge that person possesses about the details of the apparent confusion.


privacy and security notice and web maintainer
page updated/reviewed 24 July 2010
Accessibility/Section 508