A paper presented to SAGE called for an increase in Covid’s “ perceived threat ” using “ hard emotional messages, ” reports today claim.
Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using ‘secret psychological strategies’ to highlight the threat of Covid-19 without contextualizing the risks, the Telegraph reported.
This was said to cause “a state of heightened anxiety,” adding that many people “became too scared to go to the hospital.”
Experts fear that the British have been the subject of an experiment using tactics operating “below their level of consciousness,” it was said.
They have now filed a formal complaint with an organization that will decide whether government advisers are guilty of a violation of ethics.
Downing Street denies this, claiming it simply presented the facts.
A paper presented to SAGE called for an increase in Covid’s “ perceived threat ” using “ hard emotional messages, ” reports today claim. Pictured: Boris Johnson
Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using “secret psychological strategies” to emphasize the threat of Covid-19 without putting the risks into context. Pictured: Chris Whitty, Mr Johnson and Patrick Vallance
Complainants point to a document presented to the Emergency Scientific Advisory Group last March, when the pandemic in Britain began to grow rapidly.
The paper, written by Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviors, said, “A significant number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; they may be reassured by the low death rate in their demographic, although concerns are growing.
The perceived level of personal threat should be increased among those who are complacent, using harsh emotional messages. To be effective, this must also empower people by making it clear what actions they can take to mitigate the threat. ‘
The document, seen by the Telegraph, then reportedly gave 14 options to improve compliance, including “ use media to increase sense of personal threat, ” which they said would be highly effective, but at risk of ‘ negative ‘side effects.
SAGE members have since claimed that the British public “has been subjected to an unevaluated psychological experiment without being told this is what is happening.”
They added that SPI-B reports are often not ‘challenged’ by SAGE because many of those involved are ‘not very well equipped to evaluate it’.
“If someone at SPI-B says we need to stir up the fear and keep it high – there weren’t many questions about that at first and most of the questions came from outside sources, not from within.”
Complainants point to a document presented to the Emergency Scientific Advisory Group last March, when the pandemic in Britain began to grow rapidly. Pictured: Vallance
The government told the Telegraph it has “ provided clear instructions to the British people as our approach and knowledge of the virus has evolved ”
SPI-B is described as providing behavioral science advice to anticipate and help people adhere to interventions recommended by medical or epidemiological experts.
They provide independent, expert behavioral science advice to SAGE.
SPI-B has reportedly sought advice from behavioral scientists, health and social psychologists, anthropologists and historians in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last November, Sir Patrick Vallance admitted he was “ sorry ” about scaring people with a doomsday file that predicted as many as 4,000 Covid-19 deaths a day in the winter and was used to justify a second national lockdown.
The No. 10 top scientific adviser made the comments along with Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, after the pair were dragged in front of MPs to defend SAGE’s models that also predicted hospitals would be inundated by the end of this month. with virus patients.
While grilling by members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Labor MP Graham Stringer asked Sir Patrick if he believed he had scared people with the bleak deaths presented at Saturday night’s press conference.
The Chief Scientific Adviser said, ‘I hope not and that’s certainly not the goal … I think I positioned that as a scenario from a few weeks ago, based on the assumption of trying to get a new fairly worst-case scenario . And if that doesn’t happen, I regret it.
While defending the file, he added, “ Those numbers are made by major academic groups based on those assumptions and, in the spirit of trying to make sure things are shared and open, it’s the things we have seen [in the data so far], and it’s important and I think people see that. ‘
Professor Whitty admitted that the prediction of 4,000 daily deaths was unlikely to come true because the modeling was a worst-case scenario based on a situation where no additional measures were taken.
He told MPs, ‘We would all say rates are likely to be lower than that peak peak [of 4,000]
Professor Whitty added that a figure of about 1,000 deaths per day was “completely realistic,” without any tougher measures.
The government told the Telegraph that it has “given clear instructions to the British people as our approach and knowledge of the virus has evolved.”
A spokesperson added: “We are clear: we want this lockdown to be the last and relax restrictions in a way that is prudent and guided by the data.”
MailOnline has contacted the Department of Health for comment.