Mind control (also known as brainwashing, reeducation, brainsweeping, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought reform) is a controversial theory that human subjects can be indoctrinated in a way that causes “an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of beliefs and affiliations. In this context, brainwashing refers to the involuntary reeducation of basic beliefs and values”.
Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed during the Korean War to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to systematically indoctrinate prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. These theories were later expanded and modified by psychologists including Margaret Singer and Philip Zimbardo to explain conversions to some new religious movements (NRMs). This resulted in scientific and legal debate; with Eileen Barker, James Richardson, and other scholars, as well as legal experts, rejecting at least the popular understanding of the concept.
Other theories have been proposed by scholars including: Robert Cialdini, Stanley A. Deetz, Robert Jay Lifton, Michael J. Freeman, Daniel Romanovsky, Kathleen Taylor, and Benjamin Zablocki. The concept of mind control is sometimes involved in legal cases, especially regarding child custody; and is also a major theme in both science fiction and in criticism of modern political and corporate culture. However, in the view of most scholars, the theory of mind control is not accepted as scientific fact.
- 1 The Korean War and brainwashing
- 2 New religious movements
- 3 Other areas and studies
- 4 In popular culture
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The Korean War and brainwashing
Origin of the concept
The Oxford English Dictionary records the earliest known English-language usage of brainwashing in an article by newspaperman Edward Hunter, in Miami News, published on 24 September 1950. Hunter, an outspoken anticommunist and said to be a CIA agent working undercover as a journalist, wrote a series of books and articles on the theme of Chinese brainwashing, and the word brainwashing quickly became a stock phrase in Cold War headlines.
The Chinese term xǐ năo (literally “wash brain”) was originally used to describe methodologies of coercive persuasion used under the Maoist government in China, which aimed to transform individuals with a reactionary imperialist mindset into “right-thinking” members of the new Chinese social system. The term punned on the Taoist custom of “cleansing/washing the heart/mind” (xǐ xīn) before conducting certain ceremonies or entering certain holy places.
Hunter and those who picked up the Chinese term used it to explain why, during the Korean War (1950-1953), some American prisoners of war cooperated with their Chinese captors, even in a few cases defecting to the enemy side. British radio operator Robert W. Ford and British army Colonel James Carne also claimed that the Chinese subjected them to brainwashing techniques during their war-era imprisonment.
The U.S. military and government laid charges of “brainwashing” in an effort to undermine detailed confessions made by military personnel to war crimes, including biological warfare. After Chinese radio broadcasts claimed to quote Frank Schwable, Chief of Staff of the First Marine Air Wing admitting to participating in germ warfare, United Nations commander Gen. Mark W. Clark asserted: “Whether these statements ever passed the lips of these unfortunate men is doubtful. If they did, however, too familiar are the mind-annihilating methods of these Communists in extorting whatever words they want …. The men themselves are not to blame, and they have my deepest sympathy for having been used in this abominable way.”
Korean War brainwashing debunked
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In 1956, after reexamining the concept of brainwashing following the Korean War, the U.S. Army published a report entitled Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War which called brainwashing a “popular misconception”. The report states “exhaustive research of several government agencies failed to reveal even one conclusively documented case of ‘brainwashing’ of an American prisoner of war in Korea.”
US POWs captured by North Korea were brutalized with starvation, beatings, forced death marches, exposure to extremes of temperature, binding in stress positions, and withholding of medical care, but the abuse had no relation to indoctrination “in which [North Korea was] not particularly interested.” In contrast American POWs in the custody of North Korea’s Chinese Communist allies did face a concerted interrogation and indoctrination program. However, “systematic, physical torture was not employed in connection with interrogation or indoctrination,” the report states.
The “most insidious” and effective Chinese technique according to the US Army Report was a convivial display of false friendship, which persuaded some GIs to make anti-American statements, and in a few isolated cases, refuse repatriation and remain in China:
“[w]hen an American soldier was captured by the Chinese, he was given a vigorous handshake and a pat on the back. The enemy ‘introduced’ himself as a friend of the ‘workers’ of America … in many instances the Chinese did not search the American captives, but frequently offered them American cigarettes. This display of friendship caught most Americans totally off-guard and they never recovered from the initial impression made by the Chinese. … [A]fter the initial contact with the enemy, some Americans seemed to believe that the enemy was sincere and harmless. They relaxed and permitted themselves to be lulled into a well-disguised trap [of cooperating with] the cunning enemy.” 
Two academic studies of the repatriation of American prisoners of war by Robert Jay Lifton and by Edgar Schein concluded that brainwashing (called “thought reform” by Lifton and “coercive persuasion” by Schein), if it occurred, had at worst a transient effect. In 1961, they both published books expanding on these findings. Schein published Coercive Persuasion and Lifton published Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.
CIA mind control program
In 1999, forensic psychologist Dick Anthony concluded that the CIA had invented the concept of “brainwashing” as a propaganda strategy to undercut communist claims that American POWs in Korean communist camps had voluntarily expressed sympathy for communism. He argued that the books of Edward Hunter (whom he identified as a secret CIA “psychological warfare specialist” passing as a journalist) pushed the CIA brainwashing theory onto the general public. Succumbing to their own propaganda, for twenty years starting in the early 1950s, the CIA and the Defense Department conducted secret research (notably including Project MKULTRA) in an attempt to develop practical brainwashing techniques; the results are unknown. (See also Sidney Gottlieb.)
CIA experiments using various psychedelic drugs such as LSD and Mescaline drew from Nazi scientist research during World War II.
New religious movements
In the 1970s, the anti-cult movement applied mind control theories to explain seemingly sudden and dramatic religious conversions to various new religious movements (NRMs). The media was quick to follow suit, and social scientists sympathetic to the anti-cult movement, who were usually psychologists, developed more sophisticated models of brainwashing. While some psychologists were receptive to these theories, sociologists were for the most part skeptical of their ability to explain conversion to NRMs.
Theories and religious conversion
Over the years various theories of conversion and member retention have been proposed that link mind control to some new religious movements (NRMs), particularly those religious movements referred to as “cults” by their critics. Philip Zimbardo discusses mind control as “the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes”, and he suggests that any human being is susceptible to such manipulation. Another adherent to this view, Jean-Marie Abgrall was heavily criticized by forensic psychologist Dick Anthony for employing a pseudo-scientific approach and lacking any evidence that anyone’s worldviews were substantially changed by these coercive methods. On the contrary, the theories and the fear surrounding them was used as a tool for the western anti-cult movement to rationalize the persecution of minority religious groups.
Debate over theories as applied to NRMs
James Richardson observes that if the new religious movements (NRMs) had access to powerful brainwashing techniques, one would expect that NRMs would have high growth rates, yet in fact most have not had notable success in recruitment. Most adherents participate for only a short time, and the success in retaining members is limited. For this and other reasons, sociologists of religion including David Bromley and Anson Shupe consider the idea that “cults” are brainwashing American youth to be “implausible.” In addition, Thomas Robbins, Massimo Introvigne, Lorne Dawson, Gordon Melton, Marc Galanter, and Saul Levine, amongst other scholars researching NRMs, have argued and established to the satisfaction of courts, relevant professional associations and scientific communities that there exists no generally accepted scientific theory, based upon methodologically sound research, that supports the brainwashing theories as advanced by the anti-cult movement.
Benjamin Zablocki responds that it is obvious that brainwashing occurs, at least to any objective observer; but that it isn’t “a process that is directly observable.” The “real sociological issue”, he states, is whether “brainwashing occurs frequently enough to be considered an important social problem”. Zablocki disagrees with scholars like Richardson, stating that Richardson’s observation is flawed. According to Zablocki, Richardson misunderstands brainwashing, conceiving of it as a recruiting process, instead of a retaining process. Zablocki adds that the sheer number of former cult leaders and members who attest to brainwashing in interviews (performed in accordance with guidelines of the National Institute of Mental Health and National Science Foundation) is too large to be a result of anything other than a genuine phenomenon.
Zablocki also points out that in the two most prestigious journals dedicated to the sociology of religion, the number of articles “supporting the brainwashing perspective” have been zero, while over one hundred such articles have been published in other journals “marginal to the field”. From this fact, Zablocki concludes that the concept brainwashing has been blacklisted unfairly from the field of sociology of religion.
Eileen Barker criticizes mind control theories because they function to justify costly interventions such as deprogramming or exit counseling. She has also criticized some mental health professionals, including Singer, for accepting expert witness jobs in court cases involving NRMs. Her 1984 book, The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? describes the religious conversion process to the Unification Church (whose members are sometimes informally referred to as “Moonies“) which had been one of the best known groups said to practice brainwashing. Barker spent close to seven years studying Unification Church members. She interviewed in depth and/or gave probing questionnaires to church members, ex-members, “non-joiners,” and control groups of uninvolved people from similar backgrounds, as well as parents, spouses, and friends of members. She also attended numerous Unification Church workshops and communal facilities. Barker writes that she rejects the “brainwashing” theory as an explanation for conversion to the Unification Church, because, as she wrote, it explains neither the many people who attended a recruitment meeting and did not become members, nor the voluntary disaffiliation of members.
American Psychological Association rejection of brainwashing theory
Margaret Singer, who also spent time studying the political brainwashing of Korean prisoners of war, in her book Cults in Our Midst, describes six conditions which would create an atmosphere in which thought reform is possible. In 1983, the American Psychological Association (APA) asked Singer to chair a taskforce called the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control (DIMPAC) to investigate whether brainwashing or “coercive persuasion” did indeed play a role in recruitment by such movements.
Before the taskforce had submitted its final report, the APA submitted on 10 February 1987 an amicus curiæ brief in an ongoing court case related to brainwashing. Although the amicus curiæ brief written by the APA denies the credibility of the brainwashing theory, the APA submitted the brief under “intense pressure by a consortium of pro-religion scholars (a.k.a. NRM scholars)”. The brief repudiated Singer’s theories on “coercive persuasion” and suggested that brainwashing theories were without empirical proof. Afterward the APA filed a motion to withdraw its signature from the brief, since Singer’s final report had not been completed.
On 11 May 1987, the APA’s Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP) rejected the DIMPAC report because the report “lacks the scientific rigor and evenhanded critical approach necessary for APA imprimatur”, and concluded that “after much consideration, BSERP does not believe that we have sufficient information available to guide us in taking a position on this issue.” Benjamin Zablocki and Alberto Amitrani interpreted the APA’s response as meaning that there was no unanimous decision on the issue either way, suggesting also that Singer retained the respect of the psychological community after the incident.
Two critical letters from external reviewers Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi and Jeffery D. Fisher accompanied the rejection memo. The letters criticized “brainwashing” as an unrecognized theoretical concept and Singer’s reasoning as so flawed that it was “almost ridiculous.” After her findings were rejected, Singer sued the APA in 1992 for “defamation, frauds, aiding and abetting and conspiracy” and lost. After that time U.S. courts consistently rejected testimonies about mind control and manipulation, stating that such theories were not part of accepted mainline science according to the Frye Standard of 1923.
Other areas and studies
Joost Meerloo, a Dutch psychiatrist, was an early leading proponent of the concept of brainwashing. His view was influenced by his experiences during the German occupation of his country in the Second World War and his work with the Dutch government and the American military in the interrogation of accused Nazi war criminals. He later emigrated to the United States and taught at Columbia University. His best-selling 1956 book, The Rape of the Mind, concludes by saying: “The modern techniques of brainwashing and menticide—those perversions of psychology—can bring almost any man into submission and surrender. Many of the victims of thought control, brainwashing, and menticide that we have talked about were strong men whose minds and wills were broken and degraded. But although the totalitarians use their knowledge of the mind for vicious and unscrupulous purposes, our democratic society can and must use its knowledge to help man to grow, to guard his freedom, and to understand himself.” (“Menticide” is a neologism coined by Meerloo meaning: “Killing of the mind.”)
In Italy there has been controversy over the concept of plagio, a crime consisting in an absolute psychological—and eventually physical—domination of a person. The effect of such domination is the annihilation of the subject’s freedom and self-determination and the consequent negation of his or her personality. The crime of plagio has rarely been prosecuted in Italy, and only one person was ever convicted. In 1981, Italy the Court found the concept to be imprecise, lacking coherence, and liable to arbitrary application.
By the twenty-first century, the concept of brainwashing had spread to other fields and was being applied “with some success” in criminal defense, child custody, and child sexual abuse cases. In some cases “one parent is accused of brainwashing the child to reject the other parent, and in child sex abuse cases where one parent is accused of brainwashing the child to make sex abuse accusations against the other parent” (possibly resulting in or causing parental alienation).
In his 2000 book, Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism, Robert Lifton applied his original ideas about thought reform to Aum Shinrikyo and the War on Terrorism, concluding that in this context thought reform was possible without violence or physical coercion. He also pointed out that in their efforts against terrorism Western governments were also using some mind control techniques, including thought-terminating clichés.
In 2003 forensic psychologist Dick Anthony said that “no reasonable person would question that there are situations where people can be influenced against their best interests, but those arguments are evaluated on the basis of fact, not bogus expert testimony.” Dismissing the idea of mind control, he has defended NRMs, and argued that involvement in such movements may often have beneficial, rather than harmful effects: “There’s a large research literature published in mainstream journals on the mental health effects of new religions. For the most part the effects seem to be positive in any way that’s measurable.”
In her 2004 book, Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, neuroscientist and physiologist Kathleen Taylor put forth the theory that the neurological basis for reasoning and cognition in the brain and the self itself are changeable. She describes the physiology behind neurological pathways which include webs of neurons containing dendrites, axons, and synapses; and explains that certain brains with more rigid pathways will be less susceptible to new information or creative stimuli. She uses neurological science to demonstrate that brainwashed individuals have more rigid pathways, and that that rigidity can make it unlikely that the individual will rethink situations or be able to later reorganize these pathways. She argues that people in their teenage years and early twenties are more susceptible to persuasion.
In his 2007 book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, best-selling author and social psychologist Robert Cialdini says that mind control uses the same principles as responsible persuasion: Reciprocity, Commitment, Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity.
In 2009 historian Daniel Romanovsky wrote about what he called “Nazi brainwashing” of the people of Belarus by the occupying Germans during the Second World War, which took place through both mass propaganda and intense re-education, especially in schools. He notes that very soon most people had adopted the Nazi view of the Jews, that they were an inferior race and were closely tied to the Soviet government, views that had not been at all common before the occupation.
Scholars have said that modern business corporations practice mind control to create a work force which shares the same common values and culture. Critics have linked “corporate brainwashing” with globalization, saying that corporations are attempting to create a world-wide monocultural network of producers, consumers, and managers. In his 1992 book, Democracy in an Age of Corporate Colonization, Stanley A. Deetz says that modern “self awareness” and “self improvement” programs provide corporations with even more effective tools to control the minds of employees than traditional brainwashing. Modern educational systems have also been criticized, by both the left and the right, for contributing to corporate brainwashing.
In popular culture
In the 1950s many American movies were filmed that featured brainwashing of POWs, including The Rack, The Bamboo Prison, Toward the Unknown, and The Fearmakers. Fraser A. Sherman comments: “The possibility that advanced psychological techniques could reprogram people’s minds became a permanent part of pop culture.” Forbidden Area told the story of Soviet secret agents who had been brainwashed (through classical conditioning) by their own government so they wouldn’t reveal their true identities. In 1962 The Manchurian Candidate “put brainwashing front and center” and featured a plot by the Soviet government to take over the United States by use of a brainwashed presidential candidate.
The concept of brainwashing became associated with the research of Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov; which mostly involved dogs, not humans, as subjects. In The Manchurian Candidate the head brainwasher is Dr. Yen Lo, of the Pavlov Institute.
Mind control has often been an important theme in science fiction. Terry O’Brien comments: “Mind control is such a powerful image that if hypnotism did not exist, then something similar would have to have been invented: the plot device is too useful for any writer to ignore. The fear of mind control is equally as powerful an image.” A subgenre is “corporate mind control”, in which a future society is run by one or more business corporations which dominate society using advertising and mass media to control the population’s thoughts and feelings.
The idea of mind control also appears in political rhetoric as an explanation why others hold contrary views. For example, the conservative blog Brietbart.com frequently uses the term liberal brainwashing to criticize a perceived lack of conservative scholars in American universities. The 2014 documentary The Brainwashing of My Dad by Jen Senko says that the programming of Fox News influenced her father to shift to strongly conservative views.
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- Brain–computer interface
- Comparison of neurofeedback software
- Homo Sovieticus
- List of topics characterized as pseudoscience
- MKULTRA (a covert CIA research program)
- Political abuse of psychiatry
- Power and control in abusive relationships
- Psychological manipulation
- Psychological warfare
- Stockholm syndrome
- Tin foil hat
- Unethical human experimentation in the United States
- Kowal, D. M. (2000). Brainwashing. In A. E. LOVE (Ed.) , Encyclopedia of psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 463-464). American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10516-173
- Wright, Stuart (December 1997). “Media Coverage of Unconventional Religion: Any “Good News” for Minority Faiths?”. Review of Religious Research. 39 (2): 101–115. doi:10.2307/3512176.
- Melton, J. Gordon (10 December 1999). “Brainwashing and the Cults: The Rise and Fall of a Theory”. CESNUR: Center for Studies on New Religions. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
Since the late 1980s, though a significant public belief in cult-brainwashing remains, the academic community-including scholars from psychology, sociology, and religious studies-have shared an almost unanimous consensus that the coercive persuasion/brainwashing thesis proposed by Margaret Singer and her colleagues in the 1980s is without scientific merit.
- Usarski, Frank (2012-12-06). Cresswell, Jamie; Wilson, Bryan, eds. New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response. Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 9781134636969.
…there has been until now a lack of any convincing scientific evidence which can be applied in a generalised form to show that involvement in a New Religious Movement has any destructive consequences for the psyche of the individual concerned. … The fact that, in all the ensuing years, no one has succeeded in verifying beyond reasonable doubt any of these claims, has however, never been regarded as a reason to exonerate the groups in any way. … Thus, up to the time of writing, there has not been one single successful, legal conviction of the Scientology Church, even though this group has come to be regarded as the most dangerous of the new religious organisations. … The fact that even long-term investigations have as yet failed to produce the desired results continues to be ignored.
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In September 1950, the Miami News published an article by Edward Hunter titled ‘”Brain-Washing” Tactics Force Chinese into Ranks of Communist Party.’ It was the first printed use in any language of the term “brainwashing,” Hunter, a CIA propaganda operator who worked under cover as a journalist, turned out a steady stream of books and articles on the subject.
- “Word dictionary – 洗腦 – MDBG English to Chinese dictionary”. mdbg.net.
- Taylor, Kathleen (2006). Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-19-920478-6. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- Note: xīn can mean “heart”, “mind” or “centre” depending on context. For example, xīn zàng bìng means Cardiovascular disease, but xīn lǐ yī shēng means psychologist, and shì zhōng xīn means Central business district.
- Browning, Michael (2003-03-14). “Was Kidnapped Utah Teen Brainwashed?”. Palm Beach Post. Palm Beach. ISSN 1528-5758.
During the Korean War, captured American soldiers were subjected to prolonged interrogations and harangues by their captors, who often worked in relays and used the “good-cop, bad-cop” approach, alternating a brutal interrogator with a gentle one. It was all part of “Xi Nao,” washing the brain. The Chinese and Koreans were making valiant attempts to convert the captives to the communist way of thought.
- Ford RC (1990). Captured in Tibet. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-581570-X.
- Ford RC (1997). Wind Between the Worlds: Captured in Tibet. SLG Books. ISBN 0-9617066-9-4.
- New York Times: “Red Germ Charges Cite 2 U.S. Marines,” 23 February 1954, accessed 16 February 2012.
- Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets From the Early Cold War (Indiana University Press, 1998)
- New York Times: “Clark Denounces Germ War Charges”, 24 February 1953, accessed 16 February 2012.
- U.S Department of the Army (15 May 1956). Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War. (Pamphlet number 30-101 ed.). U.S Gov’t Printing Office. pp. 17 & 51.
- (Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War 1956, p. 51)
- (Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War 1956, p. 15)North Koreans considered US POWs illegal invaders and asserted they were not protected by the Geneva Conventions.
- (Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War 1956, p. 37)
- Lifton, Robert J. (April 1954). “Home by Ship: Reaction Patterns of American Prisoners of War Repatriated from North Korea”. American Journal of Psychiatry. 110 (10): 732–739. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.110.10.732. PMID 13138750. Retrieved 2008-03-30. Cited in Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism
- Schein, Edgar (May 1956). “The Chinese Indoctrination Program for Prisoners of War: A Study of Attempted Brainwashing”. Psychiatry. 19 (2): 149–172. PMID 13323141. Cited in Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism
- Schein, Edgar H. (1971). Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-Psychological Analysis of the “Brainwashing” of American Civilian Prisoners by the Chinese Communists. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00613-1.
- Lifton, RJ (1989) . Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism; a Study of “Brainwashing” in China. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4253-2.
- Anthony, Dick (1999). “Pseudoscience and Minority Religions: An Evaluation of the Brainwashing Theories of Jean-Marie”. Social Justice Research. 12 (4): 421–456. doi:10.1023/A:1022081411463.
- “Chapter 3, part 4: Supreme Court Dissents Invoke the Nuremberg Code: CIA and DOD Human Subjects Research Scandals”. Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments Final Report. Retrieved 24 August 2005. “MKUltra, began in 1950 and was motivated largely in response to alleged Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean uses of mind-control techniques on U.S. prisoners of war in Korea.”
- The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: By John Marks. P 93 (c)1979 by John Marks Published by Times Books ISBN 0-8129-0773-6
- Melton, J. Gordon (1999-12-10). “Brainwashing and the Cults: The Rise and Fall of a Theory”. CESNUR: Center for Studies on New Religions. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
In the United States at the end of the 1970s, brainwashing emerged as a popular theoretical construct around which to understand what appeared to be a sudden rise of new and unfamiliar religious movements during the previous decade, especially those associated with the hippie street-people phenomenon.
- Bromley, David G. (1998). “Brainwashing”. In William H. Swatos Jr. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-7619-8956-1.
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- Zimbardo, Philip G. (November 2002). “Mind Control: Psychological Reality or Mindless Rhetoric?”. Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively. A body of social science evidence shows that when systematically practiced by state-sanctioned police, military or destructive cults, mind control can induce false confessions, create converts who willingly torture or kill ‘invented enemies,’ and engage indoctrinated members to work tirelessly, give up their money—and even their lives—for ‘the cause.’
- Zimbardo, P (1997). “What messages are behind today’s cults?”. Monitor on Psychology: 14.
- Social Justice Research. 12: 421–456. doi:10.1023/A:1022081411463 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1022081411463. Missing or empty
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- “Brainwashing by Religious Cults”. religioustolerance.org.
- Richardson, James T. 2009. “Religion and The Law” in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Peter Clarke. (ed) Oxford Handbooks Online. p. 426
- Allen, Charlotte (December 1998). “Brainwashed! Scholars of Cults Accuse Each Other of Bad Faith”. Lingua Franca. linguafranca.com. Archived from the original on 2000-12-03. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
- Zablocki, Benjamin. (October 1997). “THE BLACKLISTING OF A CONCEPT: THE STRANGE HISTORY OF THE BRAINWASHING CONJECTURE IN THE SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION”. Nova religio. 1 (1): 96–121. doi:10.1525/nr.1918.104.22.168.
- Zablocki, Benjamin (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. U of Toronto Press. p. 176. ISBN 0-8020-8188-6.
- Zablocki, Benjamin (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. U of Toronto Press. pp. 194–201. ISBN 0-8020-8188-6.
- Zablocki, Benjamin. (April 1998). “TReply to Bromley”. Nova religio. 1 (2): 267–271. doi:10.1525/nr.1922.214.171.1247.
- Phil Zuckerman. Invitation to the Sociology of Religion. Psychology Press, 24 July 2003 p. 28
- Review, William Rusher, National Review, 19 December 1986.
- Barker, Eileen (1995). “The Scientific Study of Religion? You Must Be Joking!”. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 34, No. 3. 34 (3): 287–310. doi:10.2307/1386880. JSTOR 1386880.
- Eileen Barker, The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing?, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, United Kingdom, ISBN 0-631-13246-5.
- Moon’s death marks end of an era, Eileen Barker, CNN, 3 September 2012, Although Moon is likely to be remembered for all these things – mass weddings, accusations of brainwashing, political intrigue and enormous wealth – he should also be remembered as creating what was arguably one of the most comprehensive and innovative theologies embraced by a new religion of the period.
- Hyung-Jin Kim (2 September 2012). “Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon dies at 92”. USA Today. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire. He called both North Korean leaders and American presidents his friends, but spent time in prisons in both countries. His followers around the world cherished him, while his detractors accused him of brainwashing recruits and extracting money from worshippers.
- New Religious Movements – Some Problems of Definition George Chryssides, Diskus, 1997.
- The Market for Martyrs, Laurence Iannaccone, George Mason University, 2006, “One of the most comprehensive and influential studies was The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? by Eileen Barker (1984). Barker could find no evidence that Moonie recruits were ever kidnapped, confined, or coerced. Participants at Moonie retreats were not deprived of sleep; the lectures were not “trance-inducing” and there was not much chanting, no drugs or alcohol, and little that could be termed “frenzy” or “ecstatic” experience. People were free to leave, and leave they did. Barker’s extensive enumerations showed that among the recruits who went so far as to attend two-day retreats (claimed to beMoonie’s most effective means of “brainwashing”), fewer than 25% joined the group for more than a week and only 5% remained full-time members one year later. And, of course, most contacts dropped out before attending a retreat. Of all those who visited a Moonie centre at least once, not one in two-hundred remained in the movement two years later. With failure rates exceeding 99.5%, it comes as no surprise that full-time Moonie membership in the U.S. never exceeded a few thousand. And this was one of the most New Religious Movements of the era!”
- Oakes, Len “By far the best study of the conversion process is Eileen Barker’s The Making of a Moonie […]” from Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities, 1997, ISBN 0-8156-0398-3
- Storr, Anthony Dr. Feet of clay: a study of gurus 1996 ISBN 0-684-83495-2
- Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace, Margaret Thaler Singer, Jossey-Bass, publisher, April 2003, ISBN 0-7879-6741-6
- “Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements”. google.com.au.
- Zablocki, Benjamin (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. U of Toronto Press. p. 168. ISBN 0-8020-8188-6.
- CESNUR — APA Brief in the Molko Case. “The methodology of Drs. Singer and Benson has been repudiated by the scientific community… The hypotheses advanced by Singer comprised little more than uninformed speculation, based on skewed data… The coercive persuasion theory…is not a meaningful scientific concept. … The theories of Drs. Singer and Benson are not new to the scientific community. After searching scrutiny, the scientific community has repudiated the assumptions, methodologies, and conclusions of Drs. Singer and Benson. The validity of the claim that, absent physical force or threats, “systematic manipulation of the social influences” can coercively deprive individuals of free will lacks any empirical foundation and has never been confirmed by other research. The specific methods by which Drs. Singer and Benson have arrived at their conclusions have also been rejected by all serious scholars in the field.”
- “Motion of the American Psychological Association to Withdraw as Amicus Curiae” www.cult education.com
- American Psychological Association Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP) (1987-05-11). “Memorandum”. CESNUR: APA Memo of 1987 with Enclosures. CESNUR Center for Studies on New Religion. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
BSERP thanks the Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control for its service but is unable to accept the report of the Task Force. In general, the report lacks the scientific rigor and evenhanded critical approach necessary for APA imprimatur.
- Amitrani, Alberto; Di Marzio R (2001). “Blind, or just don’t want to see? Mind Control in New Religious Movements and the American Psychological Association”. Cultic Studies Review.
- “APA memo and two enclosures“, CESNUR: Center for Studies on New Religions
- Case No. 730012-8 Margaret Singer v. American Psychological Association. CESNUR: Center for Studies on New Religions
- Anthony, D.; Robbins, T. (1992). “Law, social science and the “brainwashing” exception to the first amendment”. Behav. Sci. Law. 10: 5–29. doi:10.1002/bsl.2370100103.
- The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies, Jonathan Auerbach, Russ Castronovo, Oxford University Press, 2014, page 114
- *Meerloo, Joost (1956). “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing“. World Publishing Company.
- Alessandro Usai “Profili penali dei condizionamenti mentali, Milano, 1996 ISBN 88-14-06071-1.
- Warshak, R. A. (2010). Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. New York: Harper Collins.
- Richardson, James T. Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004, p. 16, ISBN 978-0-306-47887-1.
- Oldenburg, Don (2003-11-21). “Stressed to Kill: The Defense of Brainwashing; Sniper Suspect’s Claim Triggers More Debate”, Washington Post, reproduced in Defence Brief, issue 269, published by Steven Skurka & Associates
- Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism, Owl Books, 2000.
- Sipchen, Bob (1988-11-17). “Ten Years After Jonestown, the Battle Intensifies Over the Influence of ‘Alternative’ Religions”, Los Angeles Times
- Szimhart, Joseph (July–August 2005). “Thoughts on thought control”. Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. 29 (4): 56–57.
- Le Fanu, James (20 December 2004). “Make up your mind”. The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Hawkes, Nigel (27 November 2004). “Brainwashing by Kathleen Taylor”. The Times. London: Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Caterson, Simon (2 May 2007). “Hell to pay when man bites God”. The Australian. p. 4.
- Taylor, Kathleen Eleanor (December 2004). Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control. Oxford University Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-19-280496-9. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
Your susceptibility to brainwashing (and other forms of influence) has much to do with the state of your brain. This will depend in part on your genes: research suggests that prefrontal function is substantially affected by genetics. Low educational achievement, dogmatism, stress, and other factors which affect prefrontal function encourage simplistic, black-and-white thinking. If you have neglected your neurons, failed to stimulate your synapses, obstinately resisted new experiences, or harmed your prefrontal cortex with drugs (including alcohol), lack of sleep, rollercoaster emotions, or chronic stress, you may well be susceptible to the totalist charms of the next charismatic you meet. This is why so many young people baffle their more phlegmatic elders by joining cults, developing obsessions with fashions and celebrities, and forming intense attachments to often unsuitable role models.
- Cialdini, Robert B. (2007). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. London: Collins. pp. epilogue. ISBN 0-06-124189-X.
- Nazi Europe and the Final Solution, David Bankier, Israel Gutman, Berghahn Books, 2009, page 282-285.
- Gray Zones: Ambiguity and Compromise in the Holocaust and its Aftermath, Jonathan Petropoulos, John Roth, Berghahn Books, Jul 15, 2005, page 209
- The Minsk Ghetto 1941-1943: Jewish Resistance and Soviet Internationalism, Barbara Epstein, University of California Press, 2008, page 295
- Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, John-Paul Himka, Joanna Beata Michlic, University of Nebraska Press, Jul 1, 2013, pages 74, 78
- Romanovsky was born in Leningrad, Russia to an assimilated Jewish family. After his marriage and the birth of his first child he became interested in Jewish history, especially of the Holocaust. Research on the topic was difficult in the Soviet Union because of government restrictions. He interviewed survivors and eyewitnesses in Belarus and recorded their stories. He made contact with other interested people and contributed to samizdat publications on the history of Soviet Jews. In 1988 he and his wife Elena moved to Israel. Since then he has contributed to many scholarly works on the topic.Interview
- *Romanovsky, Daniel (2009), “The Soviet Person as a Bystander of the Holocaust: The case of eastern Belorussia”, in Bankier, David; Gutman, Israel, Nazi Europe and the Final Solution, Berghahn Books, p. 276
- “The Holocaust in the Eyes of Homo Sovieticus: A Survey Based on Northeastern Belorussia and Northwestern Russia”. Holocaust Genocide Studies. 13 (3): 355–382. 1999. doi:10.1093/hgs/13.3.355.
- Romanovsky, Daniel (1997), “Soviet Jews Under Nazi Occupation in Northeastern Belarus and Western Russia”, in Gitelman, Zvi, Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR, Indiana University Press, p. 241
- Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organizational, and Societal Perspectives, Richard Bolden, Beverley Hawkins, Jonathan Gosling, Scott Taylor,Oxford University Press, 30 June 2011, page 95.
- The Rise of the Anti-corporate Movement: Corporations and the People who Hate Them, Evan Osborne, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, page 14
- Democracy in an Age of Corporate Colonization: Developments in Communication and the Politics of Everyday Life, Stanley Deetz, SUNY Press, 1 January 1992, page 257.
- More Money Than Brains: Why School Sucks, College is Crap, & Idiots Think They’re Right, Laura Penny, McClelland & Stewart, 20 April 2010, page 63.
- Screen Enemies of the American Way: Political Paranoia About Nazis, Communists, Saboteurs, Terrorists and Body Snatching Aliens in Film and Television, Fraser A. Sherman, McFarland, 13 December 2010.
- Seed, David (2004). Brainwashing: A Study in Cold War Demonology. Kent State University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-87338-813-9.
- Steven a.k.a. Superant. “Mind Control Movies and TV”. listal.com. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
- Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America’s Prisons, Malcolm M. Feeley, Edward L. Rubin, Cambridge University Press, 28 March 2000, page 268.
- Asian Diaspora and East-West Modernity, Sheng-mei Ma, Purdue University Press, 2012, page 129.
- Terry O’Brien in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Volume 1, Gary Westfahl editor, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005.
- Per Schelde, Androids, Humanoids, and Other Science Fiction Monsters: Science and Soul in Science Fiction Films, NYU Press, 1 July 1994, pages 169-175
- Jan, Tracy (March 7, 2016). “Donald Trump’s widespread appeal worries Muslims in Mich.”. Boston Globe. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
- Williams, Thomas D. (March 8, 2016). “African Cardinal Slams Jesuit Georgetown for Hosting Planned Parenthood Prez”. Breitbart.com. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
- “‘The Brainwashing of My Dad’ to be screened March 18 at Milton Theater”. Cape Gazette. Delaware: VillageSoup.com. March 11, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
- Dunne, Matthew W. (2013). A Cold War State of Mind: Brainwashing and Postwar American Society. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
- Ellul, Jacques. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes. Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. New York: Knopf, 1965. New York: Random House/ Vintage, 1973.
- Lifton, Robert J. (1961). Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-8078-4253-2.; Reprinted, with a new preface: University of North Carolina Press, 1989 (Online at Internet Archive).
- Meerloo, Joost (1956). “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing“. World Publishing Company.
- Pollini, F. Night (formerly banned novel about brainwashing of American POWs in Korea). Olympia Press, Paris, 1960
- Singer M; et al. (1986-11-01). “Report of the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control (DIMPAC report)”. American Psychological Association. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- Zablocki, B. (1997). “The Blacklisting of a Concept. The Strange History of the Brainwashing Conjecture in the Sociology of Religion”. Nova Religio. 1 (1): 96–121. doi:10.1525/nr.19126.96.36.199.
- Zablocki, B (1998). “Exit Cost Analysis: A New Approach to the Scientific Study of Brainwashing” (PDF). Nova Religio. 2 (1): 216–249. doi:10.1525/nr.19188.8.131.52. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- Zimbardo, P. (2002-11-01). “Mind Control: Psychological Reality or Mindless Rhetoric?”. Monitor on Psychology.