Tools for Countering Deception in Politics

Advanced techniques are used by those in power to manage public perceptions, shape political discourse, and exploit psychological tendencies to advance otherwise unpopular agendas. Part of our mission at Cognitive Policy Works is to demonstrate how the political mind operates so that grassroots activists and non-profit managers can protect themselves against these deceptive practices.

A major issue in politics today is the problem of trust. In our media saturated world, we are constantly bombarded with misleading information that undermines our confidence in democratic institutions. We need new tools to address this problem – tools that complement the excellent work of media watchdogs, bloggers, and advocates with relevant expertise who call out the inconsistencies and forgeries of the mainstream media.

Our contributions will be shaped by insights into the concerns that motivate different groups of people, the worldviews that filter our perceptions of the world, and the lived experiences that shape how people make sense of the information around them. Over the next few months, we will start to share our insights in the form of trainings, educational materials, and web media.

You can help shape this process.

We’re looking to the progressive community for guidance on where to start. Should we focus on teaching frame analysis as a tool for de-constructing spin? Would it be helpful to have greater insights into the psychological processes that drive human behavior? Does a “big picture” perspective on social trends sound valuable for putting current events in context? Let us know. Post your thoughts in the comment thread here and let us know what you’d most like to see us doing with the unique combination of perspectives represented by our core team of innovative thinkers.


Joe Brewer

Founder, Cognitive Policy Works


At Cognitive Policy Works we are developing a curriculum based on several foundational themes. One of these themes is Building Trust in Politics. Topics to be covered include:

  • How to de-construct spin;
  • Myth busting and the risk of accidentally reinforcing a lie;
  • The psychology of false memories;
  • How to manage the experience of knowing that you’ve been deceived.

We believe that skills like these are dangerous in the hands of the few – and liberating in the hands of the many.

Cognitive Policy Works specializes in providing organizations and individuals with frame analysis, policy briefs, strategic advising, and training.