Influence Scholarship and Ethics

Commentary on the article by Sara King (2010), Military Social Influence in the Global Information Environment: A Civilian Primer.


Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia [e-mail:].


What are the ethical issues surrounding the military influence on communication outlined by King? We suggest that although the ethical imperatives for practitioners are clearly spelled out by the American Psychological Association, their implications for researchers are less clear. We suggest that influence scholars must be cognizant of the way in which their work may be applied for (quasi-) military purposes and point to analyses and precedents that outline those risks but also highlight the promises of influence research.