Perception Management

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Microphones-2-.jpg This article is part of the Propaganda Portal project of Spinwatch.

Perception Management is a Propaganda technique that involves carefully altering the perceptions of a target audience to suit the objectives of the sponsor, and is an essential part of modern Information Warfare. The term originated within the U.S. Military as part of their Psyops program, describing how selective information is provided (or denied) to a target audience to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning in order to promote a change in behaviour that is favourable to the sponsor[1].

According to one author, Deception and Disinformation are important ingredients of Perception Management; getting the target audience to believe whatever the sponsor wants them to believe regardless of the truth or validity of the information being promoted[2]. As specified by the U.S. Department of Defense, Perception Management "combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations"[1].

Perception Management operations have become a mainstream part of information management procedures in a variety of modern organisations. Perception Management can be carried out as part of a wider international Public Diplomacy initiative between governments, or it can function as a tool of domestic Public Affairs communications between a government and its citizens. Many Public Relations firms offer Perception Management services to business clients, helping them shape the perceptions of stakeholders[2].



  1. 1.0 1.1 Department of Defense (2001), "Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms", Joint Publication 1-02, 12 April 2001 (As Amended Through 17 December 2003)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Emily Goldman(2004), National Security in the Information Age: Issues, Interpretations, Periodizations. London: Routledge