Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques. Brainwashing is said to reduce its subject’s ability to think critically or independently, to allow the introduction of new, unwanted thoughts and ideas into the subject’s mind, as well as to change his or her attitudes, values, and beliefs.The concept of brainwashing was originally developed in the 1950s to explain how the Chinese government appeared to make people cooperate with them. Advocates of the concept also looked at Nazi Germany, at some criminal cases in the United States, and at the actions of human traffickers. The concept of mind control was later applied to explain conversions to some new religious movements and other groups. This resulted in scientific and legal debate; with Margaret Singer, Philip Zimbardo, and some others in the anti-cult movement promoting the concept while Eileen Barker, James Richardson, and other scholars, as well as legal experts, rejected at least the popular understanding of brainwashing.Other views have been expressed by scholars including: Dick Anthony, Robert Cialdini, Stanley A. Deetz, Michael J. Freeman, Robert Jay Lifton, Joost Meerloo, Daniel Romanovsky, Kathleen Taylor, Louis Jolyon West, and Benjamin Zablocki. The concept of brainwashing is sometimes involved in legal cases, especially regarding child custody; and is also a major theme in science fiction and in criticism of modern political and corporate culture. Although the term appears in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association it is not accepted as scientific fact.
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