How to Alter Belief

People are reluctant to change belief or behavior, as any persuader, advertiser or propagandist knows. A psychological technique was created to manage the transition of belief called anchoring. The anchor roots in something the person or most people already believe.


In 1516 the lower portion of the city of Rome was designated the Ghetto. It was not only reserved for Jews, but they were forbidden to live anywhere else in the city. The section is where much sewage drained, and the waterways were in poor repair. When rains came hard, the section flooded and sewage poured into streets. The section wasn’t filthy because the Jews lived there. The Jews were forced to live there because it was filthy.

It was here that anti-Semitic prejudice of the world took on a specific tone. Jews were dirty, filthy and carried disease. If anyone doubted this claim, all they needed to do was visit the lower section of Rome, crowded with Jews living in filth.


In the building of their anti-Semitic campaigns the Nazis started with this age-old prejudice that Jews were filthy and carried disease, and from it, they fanned the flames of hate. They produced films and images that confirmed and solidified these ideas in the minds of the people.