Like the rest of the Technocracy, the New World Order believes the world is governed by understandable rules. If a person understands these rules, she then has great power to change the world. Not even the mind is immune to the laws of causality (though opinion is divided on how much of a person's behavior is determined and how much is free will).
As a result of this belief, the NWO studies people like other Technocrats study atoms - as essentially unpredictable units that nonetheless follow a set of relatively simple rules. The NWO seeks to discover these rules, both for knowledge's sake and for the sake of potent practical applications.
The NWO also believes the mind to be completely plastic, that few behaviors are set in stone, and that almost any mental trait can be altered with sufficient knowledge and effort. Consequently, much of the Order's research concerns itself with the origins of various personality traits (both positive and negative), to better understand how to cause or eliminate them.
Performing Enlightened Psychology
Step 1: Understanding
Psychological understanding is a little different than physical understanding. Often the first step is also the last. The NWO discovered long ago that the biggest impediment to a person's potential happiness is not understanding the true source of her unhappiness. In the majority of cases, changing a person's behavior is as simple as showing them the cause (and as complicated as getting him to believe the diagnosis).
On the occasions in which understanding is insufficient on its own, this step is critical to the success of any future plan, and must be undertaken with even more care than in cases where the Technocrat needs only knowledge.
Most of the time, understanding comes through observation. This takes an amount of time commensurate to the depth of the understanding sought. An agent might need only a few minutes to reason out the group dynamics of a cabal of Tradition mages, or he may require months to figure out the thought processes of an ancient vampire. This is one of the reasons spying plays such a large role in the Order's praxis. Even more than the physical sciences, psychological analysis requires vast amounts of empirical data.
If the agent has the opportunity to interview (or interrogate) the subject, the understanding process speeds up dramatically. The psychologists of the NWO are experts at asking insightful questions that bypass a person's emotional defenses and lay bare the inner workings of his mind. This skill can duplicate the effects of weeks of observation in mere minutes.
Step 2: Integration
Most people don't take advice from complete strangers, nor do they accept critiques on their personalities from random passers-by. In order for the Order's psychology to work, it's necessary for the agent to have some sort of relationship with the subject. The intensity and closeness of the relationship depends entirely upon the desired results of the psychological manipulation, and need not necessarily be friendly. Sometimes a person is more affected by his enemies than his friends.
Creating the required relationship can be either sudden or gradual. Most people have rather intense feelings for people who yank them from their beds at three in the morning and subject them to hours of interrogation. On the other hand, if the agent wants to inspire positive feelings, it can take a great deal of time to earn the necessary trust.
Often, the integration step take the form of a patient/psychiatrist relationship. The NWO is especially skilled at manipulating this sort of bond, and people treated by Enlightened shrinks make significantly faster progress than those treated with normal methods.
Step 3: Influence
Once the agent understands the problem, and after she forms a relationship with the subject, it becomes time to put that preparation to use. This is frequently, but not always, the easiest part of the process. It all depends on the extent of the changes the agent wishes to create. Altering someone's opinion about a political candidate may take nothing more than a heated discussion at the local coffee shop. On the other hand, radically changing a major personality trait will almost certainly take months of subtle guidance.
If the agent has an opportunity to deal with the subject in a controlled environment (like the Construct's secret basement, for instance), all bets are off. Forced or hypnotic conditioning takes only a fraction of the time, though the method is less reliable and of shorter duration than more healthy forms of influence.
First documented by Sigmund Freud, transference is the not uncommon tendency of patients to transfer repressed emotions onto their psychiatrist. NWO-trained doctors are experts at using this phenomenon to their own advantage. They most commonly manipulate positive emotions like romantic infatuation and paternal respect, but occasionally it's more convenient for the patient to hate the Technocrat than to love him.
It is a fundamental truth of the human condition that people don't like to feel stupid, evil, or unliked, that they like to believe their choices have been the right ones. So strong is this motivation, that when people are presented with undeniable proof of their own inadequacies, they go into denial, rationalizing their behavior as justified in terms of personal preference. It is for this reason that organizations with brutal initiations have the most loyal members and that people often like those who ask them for favors.
Cognitive dissonance is the theoretical underpinning to many of the NWO's Mind procedures, especially those that insure the loyalty of their fellow Technocrats.