Personnel Security outside the Box


This study describes the theoretical and methodological bases of research of psycho-semantic spheres of the psyche of Dari speaking Afghani military personnel. 812 military personnel including 50 intelligence officers were subjected to two types of tests. The first questioner type investigation was the task where the individual was to provide some classification about a topic. The response was a judgment of similarity and/or other association. The second test was a subliminal probing, where the individual had no idea of topics being tested and was acting in a game like environment. The test measured the subject’s response time to words or images (semantic stimuli) targeting the unconscious mind. A non-invasive, non-intrusive unconscious probing provided results which were highly corroborated by eight senior Military Intelligence officers’ ratings. The questioner type test exposed a number of strategies of evading testing procedures overwhelmingly used by tested personnel, even by those who were cleared by subliminal probing and expert opinion. In addition to discussion of the probabilities of false positives and false negative responses; assessment of one’s mental agility or ability to react and learn under stress; general psychological makeup of the population tested is discussed. We established that anyone can take a psycho-semantic unconscious probing test even illiterate people of any race, language or culture. A Semantic Stimuli Response Measurement (SSRM Tek.) test allows for large-scale screening operations to identify unknown threats to national security while serving as a deterrent to undesirable or illegal behaviours and helps to set high standards in personal conduct. Key words: security, military, personnel, unconscious, semantic, stress.

Share and Cite:

Ioffe, S. & Yesin, S. (2012). Personnel Security outside the Box. Psychology, 3, 217-230. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.32031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abrams, R. L., Klinger, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2002). Subliminal words activate semantic categories (not automated motor responses). Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, 100-106. doi:10.3758/BF03196262
[2] Alford, R. L., & Strother, J. B. (1990). Attitudes of native and non-native speakers toward selected regional accents of US English. TESOL Quarterly, 3, 479-495. doi:10.2307/3587231
[3] Allen, J. J., Iacono, W. G., & Danielson, K. D. (1992). The identification of concealed memories using the event-related brain potential and implicit behavioral measures: A methodology for prediction in the face of individual differences. Psychophysiology, 29, 504-522. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1992.tb02024.x
[4] Ansorge, U., Francis, G., Herzog, M. H., & ??men, H. (2007). Visual masking and the dynamics of human perception, cognition, and consciousness. A century of progress, a contemporary synthesis, and future directions advances in cognitive psychology, 3, 1-2, 1-8.
[5] Begleiter, H., Porjesz, B, & Garozzo, R. (1979). Visual evoked potentials and affective ratings of semantic stimuli. In H. Begleiter (Ed.), Evoked brain potentials and behaviour (pp. 127-141). New York: Plenum Press.
[6] Baker, S. J., Chrzan, G. J., Park, C. N., & Saunders, J. H. (1986). Behavioral effects of 0% and 0.05% blood alcohol in male volunteers. Neurobehavioral Toxicology & Teratology, 8, 77-81.
[7] Ball, P. (1983). Stereotypes of Anglo-Saxon and Non-Anglo-Saxon accents: Some exploratory Australian studies with the matched guise technique. Language Sciences, 5, 163-183. doi:10.1016/S0388-0001(83)80021-7
[8] Bazan, A., Shevrin, H., Brakel, L. A. W., & Snodgrass, M. (2007). Motivations and emotions contribute to a-rational unconscious dynamics: Evidence and conceptual clarification. Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, 43, 1104.
[9] Bayard, D. (1990). God help us if we all sound like this: Attitudes to New Zealand and other English accents. In A. Bell, & J. Holmes (Eds.), New Zealand ways of speaking English (pp. 67-96). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
[10] Benschop, R. (1998). What is a tachistoscope? Historical explorations of an instrument. Science in Context, 11, 23-50. doi:10.1017/S0269889700002908
[11] Beznosjuk, E. V., & Smirnov, I. V. (1990). Психокорреция, психопрофилактика, психотерапия//Медицинская психология и психогигиена. М.1, ММИ, 1990. С. 21. [Psycho-correction, psycho-prophylactic, psychotherapy.] Medical Psychology and Psycho-Hygiene, M.1, MMI, 21.
[12] Bunce, S. C., Bernat, E., Wong, P. S., & Shevrin, H. (1999). Further evidence for unconscious learning: Preliminary support for the conditioning of facial EMG to subliminal stimuli. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 33, 341-347. doi:10.1016/S0022-3956(99)00003-5
[13] Cacioppo, J. T., & Berntson, G. G. (1994). Relationship between attitudes and evaluative space: A critical review, with emphasis on the separability of positive and negative substrates. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 401-423. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.115.3.401
[14] Cheshire, J. (1982). Linguistic variation and social function. In S. Romaine (Ed.), Sociolinguistic variation in speech communities (pp. 153-166). London: Edward Arnold.
[15] Cobb, S. R., Cole, C., & Rainey, M. T. (1978). The effect of exposure time upon perceived size. British Jounal Physiology Ophtalmology, 32, 94-96.
[16] Costrica, V. G., Tkachenko, A. E., & Malcev, S. I. (1998). Use of a computer psycho-semantic analysis allows exposure of persons who are prone to alcohol and drug abuse and asocial behavior. Proceedings of TRTU, 4, 54-55.
[17] Damphousse, K. R., Pointon, L., Upchurch, D., & Moore, R. K. (2007). Assessing the Validity of voice stress analysis tools in a jail setting. Report submitted to the US Department of Justice.
[18] Dehaene, S., Changeux, J., Naccache, L., Sackur, J., & Sergent, C. (2006). Conscious, preconscious and subliminal processing: A testable taxonomy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 204-211.
[19] Dijksterhuis, A., Aarts, H., & Smith, P. K. (2005). The power of the subliminal: Subliminal perception and possible applications. In R. Hassin, J. Uleman, & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The new unconsciousness (pp. 77-106). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
[20] Dixon, N. (1971). Subliminal perception: The nature of controversy. London: McGraw-Hill.
[21] Dixon, N. (1981). Preconscious processing. New York: John Wiley.
[22] El-Dash, L., & Tucker, R. (1975). Subjective reactions to various speech styles in Egypt. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 6, 33-54. doi:10.1515/ijsl.1975.6.33
[23] Epstein, S. (1994). Integration of the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious. American Psychologist, 49, 709-724. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.49.8.709
[24] Eriksson, A., & Lacerda, F. (2007). Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously. The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 14, 169-193.
[25] Esteves, F., Parra, C., Dimberg, U., & Ohman, A. (1994). Nonconscious associative learning: Pavlovian conditioning of skin conductance responses to masked fear-relevant facial stimuli. Psychophysiology, 31, 375-385. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1994.tb02446.x
[26] Gaies, S. J., & Beebe, J. D. (1991). The matched-guise technique for measuring attitudes and their implications for language education: A critical assessment. In E. Sadtano (Ed.), Language acquisition and the second/foreign language classroom. Anthology Series 28. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre.
[27] Gallois, C., & Callan, V. J. (1981). Personality impressions elicited by accented English speech. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 12, 247-359. doi:10.1177/0022022181123006
[28] Greenwald, A. G. (1992). New look 3: Unconscious cognition reclaimed. American Psychologist, 47, 766-779. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.47.6.766
[29] Greenwald, A. G., Klinger, M. R., & Schuh, E. S. (1995). Activation by marginally perceptible (“subliminal”) stimuli: Dissociation of unconscious from conscious cognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 22-42. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.124.1.22
[30] Greenwald, A. G., Draine, S. C., & Abrams, R. L. (1996). Three cognitive markers of unconscious semantic activation. Science, 273, 1699-1702. doi:10.1126/science.273.5282.1699
[31] Greenwald, A. G., Abrams, R. L., Naccache, L., & Dehaene, S. (2003). Long-term semantic memory versus contextual memory in unconscious number processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 235-247. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.29.2.235
[32] Grubin, D. J. (2010) The polygraph and forensic psychiatry. American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38, 446-451.
[33] Heise, D. R. (2010) Surveying cultures: Discovering shared conceptions and sentiments. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
[34] Holender, D. (1986). Semantic activation without conscious identification in dichotic listening, parafoveal vision, and visual masking: A survey and appraisal. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 1-23. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00021269
[35] Ioffe, S., Yesin, S. V., Afanasjev, B. G., & Nezhdanov, I. K. (2007a). Psychosemantic diagnosis of alcoholic dependencies tested at the unconscious level in military personnel with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Polygraph Journal, 2, 57-69.
[36] Ioffe, S., Yesin, S. V., Afanasjev, B. G., & Nezhdanov, I. K. (2007b). The role of unconscious effects during the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder with alcohol dependencies in military personnel. Polygraph Journal, 3, 133-148.
[37] Ioffe, S., & Konobeevsky, M. (2008). Psycho-semantic spheres of the personality among correctional facility employees. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 23, 23-34. doi:10.1007/s11896-008-9018-7
[38] Ioffe, S., & Yesin, S. (2010). Psyche from within: Three clinical case studies. Psychology, 1, 282-294. doi:10.4236/psych.2010.14037
[39] Ioffe, S., & Yesin, S. (2011). Controlled reactivation of psycho-semantic space by unconscious (subthreshold) stimuli. Psychology, 2, 181-186. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.23029
[40] Jones, E. E., & Sigall, H. (1971). The bogus pipeline: A new paradigm for measuring affect and attitude. Psychological Bulletin, 76, 349-364. doi:10.1037/h0031617
[41] Kelly, G. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.
[42] Kelly, G. A. (1970). Behaviour is an experiment. Perspectives in personal construct theory. London: Academic Press.
[43] Kihlstrom, J. F. (1987). The cognitive unconscious. Science, 237, 1445-1452. doi:10.1126/science.3629249
[44] Kleiner, M. (2002). Physiological detection of deception in psychological perspectives: A theoretical proposal, in Handbook of Polygraph Testing. London: Academic Press.
[45] Knight, D. C., Nguyen, H. T., & Bandettini, P. A. (2003). Expression of conditional fear with and without awareness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 15280-15283. doi:10.1073/pnas.2535780100
[46] Kostandov, E. A. (1977) Восприятие и эмоции. М., 1977. 316 с. [Perceptions and emotions] M. 716.
[47] Kostandov, E. A. (1983). Функциональная асимметрия полушарий мозга и неосознаваемое восприятие. М., 1983. 246 с. [Functional asymmetry of cerebral hemispheres and unconscious perception] M. 246.
[48] Kostandov, E. A. (1984). Сознание и бессознательное как проблема физиологии высшей нервной деятельности человека //Журнал высшей нервной деятельности. 1984, т.34, N 3, С.401-411. [Consciousness and unconscious as a physiology of higher neural activity in human.] Journal of Higher Neural Activity, 3, 401-411.
[49] Kunst-Wilson, W., & Zajonc, R. (1980). Affective discrimination of stimuli that cannot be recognized. Science, 207, 557-558. doi:10.1126/science.7352271
[50] Lang, S. F., Nelson, C. A., & Collins, P. F. (1990). Event-related potentials to emotional and neutral stimuli. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 12, 946-958. doi:10.1080/01688639008401033
[51] Leontiev, V. O. (2002). Классификация эмоций. 2002.Одесса: Изд-во Инновационно-ипотечного центра, [Classification of the emotions] Odessa: Innovation centre.
[52] Lippold, O. C. (1970). Oscillation in the stretch reflex arc and the origin of the rhythmical, 8 - 12 c/s component of physiological tremor. The Journal of Physiology, 206, 359-382.
[53] Lippold, O. C. (1971). Physiological tremor. Scientific American, 224, 65-73. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0371-65
[54] Luriya, A. R., & Vinogradova, O. S. (1971). Объективное исследование динамики семантических систем//Семантическая структура слова. М.: Наука, 1971, С. 27-63. Objective research of the dynamics of the semantic systems.] In Semantic structure of the word. M. Science, 27-63.
[55] Macmillan, N. (1986). The psychophysics of subliminal perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 38-39. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00021427
[56] National Research Council (2003). The polygraph and lie detection. Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.
[57] Ohman, A., & Soares, J. F. (1994). “Unconscious anxiety”: Phobic responses to masked stimuli. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 231-240. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.103.2.231
[58] Osgood, C. E., Suci, G. J., & Tannenbaum, P. H. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana, IL: Illinois Press.
[59] Osgood, C. E. (1959). Representational model and relevant research methods. In I. Pool (Ed.), Trends in content analysis (pp. 33-38). Urbana, IL: Illinois Press.
[60] Osgood, C. E. (1967). Semantic differential technique in the comparative study of cultures. In L. A. Jakobovite, & M. S. Miron (Eds.), Readings in the psychology of language (pp. 111-199). Englewood Cliffs, Prentic-Hall.
[61] Osgood, C. E. (1976). Focus of meaning. Mouton.
[62] Pessiglione, M., Petrovic, P., Daunizeau, J., Palminteri, S., Dolan, R. J., Frith, C. D. (2008) Subliminal instrumental conditioning demonstrated in the human brain neuron. 59, 561-567. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.07.005
[63] Ramachandran, V. S., & Cobb, S. (1995). Visual attention modulates metacontrast masking. Nature, 373, 21.
[64] Reingold, E., & Merikle, P. (1988). Using direct and indirect measures to study perception without awareness. Perception and Psychophysics, 44, 563-575. doi:10.3758/BF03207490
[65] Reingold, E., & Merikle, P. (1990). On the inter-relatedness of theory and measurement in the study of unconscious processes. Mind and Language, 5, 9-28. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0017.1990.tb00150.x
[66] Renshaw, S. (1945). The visual perception and reproduction of forms by tachistoscopic methods. Journal of Psychology, 20, 217-232. doi:10.1080/00223980.1945.9917254
[67] Senter, S., Weatherman, D., Krapohl, D., & Horvath, F. (2010). Psychological set or differential salience: A proposal for reconciling theory and terminology in polygraph testing. Polygraph, 39, 109-117.
[68] Shevrin, H, & Fritzler, D. (1968). Visual evoked response correlates of unconscious mental processes. Science, 161, 295-298. doi:10.1126/science.161.3838.295
[69] Shevrin, H., Smith, W., & Fritzler, D. (1969). Repressiveness as a factor in the subliminal activation of brain and verbal responses. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 149, 261-269. doi:10.1097/00005053-196909000-00003
[70] Shevrin, H. (1973). Brain wave correlates of subliminal stimulation, unconscious attention, primay- and secondary-process thinking, and repressiveness. Psychological Issues Monograph 30, Psychoanalytic Research, 8, 56-87.
[71] Shevrin, H., & Dickman, S. (1980). The psychological unconscious, a necessary assumption for all psychological theory? American Psychologist, 35, 421-435. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.35.5.421
[72] Shevrin, H., Williams, W. J., Marshall, R. E., Hertel, R. K., Bond, J. A., & Brakel, L. A. (1992). Event-related potential indicators of the dynamic unconscious. Consciousness and Cognition, 1, 340-366. doi:10.1016/1053-8100(92)90068-L
[73] Shevrin, H., Bond, J. A., Brakel, L. A. W., Hertel, R. K., & Williams, W. J. (1996). Conscious and unconscious processes: Psychodynamic, cognitive, and neurophysioloical nonvergences. New York: Guilford Press.
[74] Smirnov, I., Beznosjuk, E. & Zhuravlyov, A. (1995). Психотехнологии: компьютерный психосемантический анализ и психокоррекция на неосознаваемом уровне. - М., 1995. С. 98 – 103. [Psychotechnologies: Computer psychosemantic analysis and psychocorrection at unconscious level.] M. “Culture”, 98-103.
[75] Snodgrass, J. M. (2000). Unconscious perception: Theory, method, and evidence. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
[76] Tjuvina, N. A., & Krivtsov, K. J. U. (2006) Применение метода компьютерного психосемантического анализа для ранней диагностики возможного рецидива у больных параноидной формой шизофрении в период формирования медикаментозной ремиссии. Журнал неврологии и психиатрии им. С. С. Корсакова. 106 (11) 50-53. [Application of a method of the computer psycho-semantic analysis for early diagnostics of possible relapse in the patients with the paranoid form of a schizophrenia during of medicamentous remission.] Journal
[77] Waller, G., & Mijatovich, S. (1998) Preconscious processing of threat cues: Impact on eating among women with unhealthy eating attitudes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 24, 83-89. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199807)24:1<83::AID-EAT7>3.0.CO;2-X
[78] Ward, J. H. (1963). Hierarchical grouping to optimize an objective function. Journal of American Statistical Association, 58, 236-244. doi:10.2307/2282967
[79] Wedding, D., & Stalans, L. (1985) Hemispheric differences in the perception of positive and negative faces. International Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 277-281. doi:10.3109/00207458509149773
[80] Winkielman, P., Berridge, K. C., & Wilbarger, J. L. (2005). Unconscious affective reactions to masked happy versus angry faces influence consumption behavior and judgments of value. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 121-135. doi:10.1177/0146167204271309
[81] Wong, P. S., Shevrin, H., & Williams, W. J. (1994). Conscious and nonconscious processes: An ERP index of an anticipatory response in a conditioning paradigm using visually masked stimuli. Psychopsysiology, 31, 87-101. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1994.tb01028.x
[82] Wong, P. S., Bernat, E., Bunce, S. C., & Shevrin, H. (1997). Brain indices of nonconscious associative learning. Consciousness and Cognition, 6, 519-544. doi:10.1006/ccog.1997.0322
[83] Zayas, V., Greenwald, A. G., & Osterhout, L. (2011). Unintentional covert motor activations predict behavioral effects: Multilevel modeling of trial-level electrophysiological motor activations. Psychophysiology, 48, 208-217. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01055.x
[84] Yarbus, A. L. (1967). Eye Movements and Vision. New York: Plenum Press.
[85] Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author (or authors) and not the Department of Defense.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.