Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control

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Oxford University Press, 2004 - Psychology - 324 pages
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The term 'brainwashing' was first recorded in 1950, but it is an expression of a much older concept: the forcible and full-scale alteration of a person's beliefs. Over the past 50 years the term has crept into popular culture, served as a topic for jokes, frightened the public in media headlines, and slandered innumerable people and institutions. It has also been the subject of learned discussion from many angles: history, sociology, psychology, psychotherapy, and marketing. Despite this variety, to date there has been one angle missing: any serious reference to real brains. Descriptions of how opinions can be changed, whether by persuasion, deceit, or force, have been almost entirely psychological. Brainwashing, Kathleen Taylor's fascinating and informative voyage through the subject, combines the latest findings in social psychology and neuroscience to investigate the incredibly complicated workings of the human brain. In elegant and accessible prose, and with abundant use of anecdotes and case-studies, she looks at the history and myth, psychology, neuroscience, and politics of how we humans manipulate each others' minds.
 

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Contents

The birth of a word
3
God or the group?
25
The power of persuasion
49
Hoping to heal
67
I suggest you persuade he brainwashes
79
Brainwashing and influence
95
The traitor in your skull
103
Our everchanging brains
105
Freedom and control
205
Victims and predators
207
Mind factories
219
Science and nightmare
233
Taking a stand
247
Notes
269
References
287
Further reading
299

Webs and new worlds
127
Swept away
147
The power of stopandthink
167
That freedom thing
187
Glossary
301
Index
307
Copyright

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About the author (2004)


Kathleen Taylor is a research scientist in the physiology department, Oxford University. In 2003 she won first prize in both the THES/OUP Science Essay competition and the THES Humanities and Social Sciences Writing Prize.

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