Two-way mirrors, hidden observers: welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions laboratory – Politics and Insights

160828 two-way mirrors
What do we think of this?

I regularly write to raise concerns about the current government’s misuse of psychology in public policies and research. There has been a shift towards the formulation of targeted, class contingent policies which have the central aim of “changing behaviours.” This neo-behaviourist approach has some profound implications for democracy . It constrains autonomy and curtails the basic liberties of targeted citizens.On the government website, a contract finder for the “Provision of Research Laboratory Facilities” for the Department for Work and Pensions says:

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) requires research to be undertaken, in a research laboratory environment, with recipients of the Carers Allowance and recipients of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

In a typical lab situation DWP shall have one DWP researcher in a room with the participant and other DWP researchers (if appropriate) and invited observers behind a two way mirror evaluating what is happening. As well as viewing the interview they can also see the activity on the web screen via monitors in their room.

The proceedings are currently recorded on MP4 for subsequent use when research findings are being reported. The participants cannot see the people in the viewing facility though they know they are there. There needs to be flexibility to be able to undertake the research in the North West and Leeds and be able to recruit for participants to attend a Government Lab set up at Aviation House in London WC2B 6NH.” 


Northern Voices T/A The Talking Shop is a Manchester based market research and public opinion polling company that has been awarded the contract in June this year. This company will be paid up to £60,000 for experimenting on sick and disabled claimants, using covert observation from behind a two-way mirror, studying eye movements, facial expressions and body language.

Source: Two-way mirrors, hidden observers: welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions laboratory – Politics and Insights


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6 thoughts on “Two-way mirrors, hidden observers: welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions laboratory – Politics and Insights

  1. casalealex

    In 1988, Loring and Powell gave 290 psychiatrists a transcript of a patient interview and told half of them that the patient was black and the other half white; they concluded of the results that “clinicians appear to ascribe violence, suspiciousness, and dangerousness to black clients even though the case studies are the same as the case studies for the white clients” Wikipaedia…say no more….

  2. Readerbythesea

    Since when were sick and vulnerable people to be treated as lab rats?
    This assumption that we are less than terrifies me.

  3. Dez

    The DWP have sunk to their lowest level yet…..Herr SS Smith really started them thinking outside the box using any method to improve their rejection rates more effectively. Disgusting low life behaviours once again using third party investigators from where? from what background and knowledge or are they learning as they go along?. Honing their culling skills. Dwp have become a stench in our society.

  4. Patrick

    Slowly but surely the Department of Waste and Persecution is turning in to ‘The Stasi’. It starts with ‘dob your neighbour in’ and develops from there. The disabled are already prisoners in their own homes. Try telling the DWP you are going away, in accordance with the regulations, and see what happens. PIP gets stopped and reviewed.

Comments are closed.