The Ludovico technique is a fictional aversion therapy from the novel A Clockwork Orange administered by Dr. Brodsky with the approval of the UK Minister of the Interior. It involved forcing a patient to watch, through the use of specula to hold the eyes open, violent images for long periods of time, while under the effect of a nausea-inducing drug. The aim of the therapy is to make the patient experience severe nausea when experiencing or even thinking about violence, thus creating an aversion to violent behaviour. The therapy renders the protagonist of the novel, Alex, incapable of violence even in self-defense, and unable to touch a naked woman or think about having sexual intercourse. He also develops a severe aversion to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, one of his favorite pieces of classical music, due to its use as a background score for the films during his treatment.
In the original novel, Alex is conditioned against all classical music, in addition to Beethoven's Ninth. In the film, he is conditioned only against Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. "Ludovico" is the Italian equivalent of the German name "Ludwig"; it is possible the name was selected for this reason.
Film critic Thomas Nelson has compared this brainwashing technique with the recruit training in Kubrick's subsequent film Full Metal Jacket. He notes that the latter produces a contrasting effect when one of the recruits (Leonard Lawrence) becomes conditioned, during boot camp training, to become a violent killing machine who associates his sexuality with his rifle.
- A Clockwork Orange. Sparknotes. "Dr. Brodsky. The psychologist in charge of conditioning Alex using Ludovico's Technique. Brodsky knows nothing about music, using it only as an ... Minister of the Interior The man who orders doctors to use Ludovico's Technique on Alex. ..."
- Nelson, Thomas (2000). Kubrick, inside a Film Artist's Maze. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-253-21390-8.