DWP psych ‘test’ devised by US ‘torture guru’

I blogged yesterday about the privatisation of the ‘Nudge Unit’, the government department that uses psychology to manipulate the decisions made by its clients, including those on unemployment benefit. My fears are that, apart from the evil and injustice in itself of such psychology manipulation, the technique also has a potential to become a tool for mass indoctrination, as shown in SF series like Blake’s 7. One of the commenters on my blog, George Berger, has pointed to this article on The Skwawkbox, revealing that the DWP psychiatric test inflicted on those on jobseeker’s benefits was partly devised by Marty Seligman. Seligman has collaborated with the CIA in the development of interrogation/torture techniques, such as waterboarding. This article provides further evidence, not just of Ian Duncan Smith’s complete indifference to human rights or suffering, but to the Coalition’s willingness to use military indoctrination techniques on its civilian clients. It shows a dangerous totalitarian psychology at the heart of Cameron’s government.


I wrote last week about a bogus online personality ‘test’ of 48 questions that Jobcentre Plus is forcing claimants to complete on behalf of the DWP – bogus because whatever answers you select, or even if you select none at all and just click next, you get the same or very similar answers.

From further investigation, it became apparent that this ‘test’ – forced on claimants as a ‘Jobseeker Direction’ that can result in ‘sanction’ of benefits if not obeyed – is being used as a tool to manipulate and intimidate terrified benefit-claimants, with the result that many could lose benefits simply for not being computer-literate, or even literate at all. That this is being done in a context of claimants committing suicide because of the fear of losing their benefits is utterly immoral.

That series of posts has been one of the most commented-on that I’ve written – and…

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