Talk:Mind control

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The "religon and mind control" link leads to a blog with only one entry, and a picture of a baby. Should this really be in Wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Not only that, that web page takes you to a link where you can buy the guy's book on mind control, called "Dr Tee's Mind Control." It promises:

This booklet tells you how to know the thoughts of others and how to control every facet of your own life. It is the true guide for finding happiness in your life.

It's about 5$ and its author is clearly spamming this entry. It has no place here. I am going to remove it and suggest someone note the I.P. of the poster who added it. Perhaps they should be blocked? They may be spamming other subjects as well. IsaacJ 15:12, 8 November 2007 (UTC)IsaacJ

Would someone please write a section about the methods used in Baptist and other fundamentalist churches with the purpose of inculcating children and turning them into Baptists and fundamentalists. It seems that the only difference here is that the parents are not only willing, but actually enablers in the process, reinforcing it at home. (talk) 13:22, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Possibly speculative sentence[edit]

Hi folks... Isn't the following sentence a bit too speculative for an "encyclopedia" article?:

Some arguments in support of mind control conspiracy theories in fact stem from the belief in other conspiracy theories which, if they were true, would seem to validate such thinking. For example, if the belief in the presence of extraterrestrials were to be considered a given, this would give reason to believe that conspiring forces may possess the means of technology required to execute such actions.

It seems like a pure exercise in speculation. While interesting it seems to me that this is definitely OR. I propose that we take it out. Tanaats 04:38, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and took it out. It's copied below in case anyone wants to protest.

control conspiracy theories in fact stem from the belief in other conspiracy theories which, if they were true, would seem to validate such thinking. For example, if the belief in the presence of extraterrestrials were to be considered a given, this would give reason to believe that conspiring forces may possess the means of technology required to execute such actions.

Tanaats 22:30, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Didn't you say you took out the sentence? Which sentence do you mean? The whole paragraph looks the same both times. Or are you saying you took out the entire paragraph? In which case, why didn't you copy the section in which that paragraph is now missing? Jaylectricity 02:26, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Sheesh, the change is a whole 4 edits back, if you want the entire context there it is. I thought I was being especially courteous by even taking the trouble to copy the deleted portion here.
I misspoke when I called it a "sentence", sorry. But I followed the word "sentence" with exactly what I was referring to.
If you want to discuss the change, let's discuss that. Tanaats 04:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Zimbardo vs. "reconsidering the APA position on mind control"[edit]

Regarding the sentence "In 2002 Dr. Philip Zimbardo who teaches at Stanford University a course "the psychology of mind control", commented on the request by former members of new religious movements (NRMs) to reconsider the APA's position on the possibility of mind control"...

The cited article doesn't say that NRM members asked Zimbardo to reconsider the APA position on mind control. (For one thing the APA has never taken a position on mind control, see for example the final sentence in the DIMPAC rejection memo.) To achieve maximum accuracy, I've replaced that statement with a direct quote from his article. Tanaats 23:50, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

This discussion has the same problem as the article[edit]

This particular talk page is NOT getting anywhere and here is why. Most of you are having discussions on various events and experiments and whether or not there is proof or any indication of sources for each theory. If we want to delve into the plethora (haven't used that word in a while) of theories and events in history, the Mind Control page will be muddy forever.
More important to the cause of this so-called "online encyclopedia" is the need for organization. The top of the page needs to clearly define Mind Control with absolutely no anecdotes. You may feel the need to clean up my definition and that is why we have this talk page to get all of our heads together. Something to the effect of: "Mind control has long been the subject of controversy, paranoia, fantasy, curiosity and research. As such, mind control has been subjected to controversy, paranoia, fantasy, curiosity and research." At this point you may want to add a few things to that list, and then satisfy the reader's own curiosity as to HOW mind control has been the subject/subjected to...
Now in each of those, it needs to be divided between fiction and non-fiction. Just because you aren't sure something has been proven, or there are no sources/citations does not make it fiction. It makes it debatable. Fiction works are created by authors, directors, producers etc. as a means of a FICTIONAL story. Lots of web surfers need you to relate them to popular works because most people are sheep. But I digress. This fact means that fictional works DO have a place here, but they ought to be relegated to smaller sub-topics within a larger non-fiction topic. But to lead an entire topic on the page by mentioning the Manchurian Candidate without first having described the techniques used in the story becomes distracting. Sonic Magno-Waves (fake technique I'm using for example) need to be explored and defined before bringing a movie named "SMW From Space" into the topic.
In regards to what should be considered mind control and simple persuasion there should be a paragraph addressing that, but with most of what is considered simple persuasion put into links to other pages. Mind control is mind control and nothing else. Using techniques to cause a person to do something against their will, or to do something without realizing what they are doing, could be considered mind control. But when you start to get into things such as, "There was something about the way she talked that made me want to follow her orders" that starts to slip over to persuasion. Things such as hypnosis to quit smoking also misses the definition of mind control. One could say that my repeating the words, "I hate alcohol" over and over for 3.5 hours as a means to quit is actually me exhibiting mind control when actually it is closer to "self-control." Mind control is an entry in Wiki for very obvious reasons. Because it refers to specific actions with mostly negative connotations. Any other use of the term "Mind Control" is simply putting two words in the English language together to form a joint meaning. If we were to do that, we might as well put a definition for "Shoe Tying" and then we could argue whether the use of Velcro or snaps belong under that topic since they both can be found on shoes.
In conclusion, a lot of you use up a lot of your time writing, improving and/or changing entries within the Wikipedia. Believe me, it is much more noble than someone who spends most of their time with World of Warwhatever. You should venture out with each other and work on an outline for this page. You need to fight the urge to research each sub-topic and just stick to structuring the page. This is a fascinating topic and I came to this page only to be left totally confused and unfulfilled in my thirst for knowledge. A few others of you seem to be more passionate about getting YOUR favorite theory or idea posted here. Those of you should spend your time creating the part of the topic you are passionate about. Don't worry about anything but writing out your particular section, then post it here or elsewhere for the organizers to review it. Still there are a few of you that prefer to nit-pick over proof, sources and citations. That is not a bad thing, so grab a beer, a joint, a cup of tea or whatever you like and start researching. In the quest for one reputable source you should be able to use the major (and don't forget the minor) search engines and find what you need in an hour or two. So hop to it friends!

Pre-signature post-script -- You have no idea how long it took me to get this post to look like this without dividing it into all these weird boxes and screwed up paragraph breaks. I couldn't indent for you so I'm sorry if you have to weed through the paragraph breaks. I must have been using code symbols on accident. Jaylectricity 02:15, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi, Thanks for the comments. I for one like all the weird boxes and screwed up paragraph breaks as it makes it easier to find information on any given subject for the reader. Some one recently went into an article I contribute to and removed the whole shebang! Take a look:Steve Poizner. Now if I were a child or just some one trying to find out information I just might get lost here without all the granny fussing we do so well here:-). As to the citations, well they serve their purpose and most recently I learned to plug in those little references because if one doesn't the work will be removed without fore thought or consideration. Then one thinks, heck, I could have planted flowers in the garden instead. Oh, I take Earl Gray w/cream, don't drink and don't do pot! PEACETalkAbout 05:25, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
On the topic of weird boxes and screwed up paragraph breaks, I meant that in the middle of a sentence, it would switch. Also, in one of the boxes there would be 275 words in one line of text. So you'd have to go to the bottom of the window and slowly scroll to the right while reading...It would NOT have made it easier to find anything. One Earl Grey with cream, coming up! Jaylectricity 01:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually... The problem with this article is that it's biased and treats GENUINE ON-GOING psychological warfare that even happens between everyday nobodies (PROVEN - it's so basic it even happens in mere body language) as a bunch of made up psychobabble despite that millions, maybe even billions, of people are dealing with "grooming"/"training"/"brainwashing"/whatever you wish to call it as I type this. People groom left and right over anything from wanting you to like the same soda as them to wanting you to go kill someone for them. This is a genuine, on-going thing. And, it did not start in the war. That's just the first known use of the word "brain wash," and has no genuine value to the topic of "brainwashing" itself. The problem with this article is that it's authors are not qualified to write it, so are just digging up crud to site. Loading it with citations doesn't magic it into a valid article. You must understand a subject personally to actually have something useful to say about it. Otherwise you're just talking out your butt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Planning to delete unsourced statements[edit]

I've hung "fact" tags on the following:

  • "Hassan's critics argue that Hassan does not merely say that fraudulent salesmanship persuaded the believers; he states that these groups literally take away a victim's freedom of mind."
  • "...which was usually illegal when applied to an adult,[7] and which eventually became completely illegal except in the case of minors."

I'll wait about a week and then delete them. Tanaats 22:52, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Overblown, uncritical, fringe theories with scant acceptance?[edit]


  • As for "overblown", this is an article on Mind Control. It is the very article in which a theory on Mind Control is supposed to be well represented.
  • As for "uncritical", you are free to put in well-sourced, verifiable, counterpoints.
  • As for "fringe theories", these are among the most prominent theories pertaining to the subject of the article.
  • As for "scant acceptance", outside of the world of NRM theorists these theories have wide respect, even if not universal acceptance. (Don't believe what they tell your about DIMPAC and the APA.) Tanaats 00:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate your opinions. However, for the purposes of Wikipedia, could you please supply reliable sources demonstrating the "wide respect" for these theories? And to make your 3rd point more precise and accurate, you should say these are the most prominent exponents of this fringe theory. BabyDweezil 01:03, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't need RSs for the Talk page. Tanaats 01:51, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Then we're agreed that you are stating your opinions, not verifiable facts. BabyDweezil 15:21, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
BD, I'm not saying in the article that these theories enjoy wide respect. It's ok to express OR in the Talk page. In fact, that's mostly what any Talk page will consist of. Tanaats 20:51, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Her theories were not rejected[edit]


Sorry, I forgot to make an edit comment again.

Singer's theories were not rejected by the APA. The report was rejected. Read it again. Tanaats 01:46, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

That amounts to very much the same, IMO. But we should stay close to the sources rather than insert our opinions in the article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:59, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Clarified. BabyDweezil 02:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Good. You might want to go over it one more time. The report wasn't presented to DIMPAC, it was presented to BSERP. Tanaats 02:07, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Presented to the APA, rejected by the APA BSERP, to be exact. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)

The Girard mention[edit]

User: says that he is Harlan Girard, and that the material about him in the article is inaccurate. Quoting him:

I am Harlan Girard and the person who made the insertion about the subject article insofar as it concerns me clearly had not read it, or wantonly misquoted and misrepresented what was said about me in it and what I believe to be true about the subject of mind control. I suggest interested persons read the article above, if they are interested in this subject.

He has deleted what he finds to be the offending material. Per WP:BLP it shouldn't go back in unless someone can establish that it doesn't violate WP:BLP.

I have removed the rest of the section which is now either meaningless or uncited. Tanaats 23:56, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Planning to delete some material[edit]

I've placed tags on material that is uncited, poorly cited, or OR. Unless there is an objection, I plan to wait a couple of weeks and then delete the material around 15 Feb. Tanaats 20:20, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Steven Hassan's BITE model--waaaaaay to much space here[edit]

Hassan's model is a fringe construct with scant (probably more like "no") support in the scientific community. For it to take up such a huge amount of space, in fact more space than the work of actual scientists, doesnt make any sense, and basically amount to using Wikipedia as advertising and promotion. I plan to edit it down to a brief paragraph, summarizing his views, but would appreciate comments. BabyDweezil 16:26, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Don't do it. The scholar "mantra" is not a justification for removal of well-sourced material. Furthermore Hassan is quite a notable figure in the arena of mind control, and his theory is also notable in that same arena. What you should do instead of deleting well-sourced material is to add material from the "work of actual scientists." Tanaats 17:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Tanaats, cutting and pasting huge chunks of Hassan's writing isn't really what "well sourced" means. Could you provide sources that show that "Hassan is quite a notable figure in the arena of mind control, and his theory is also notable in that same arena"? BabyDweezil 18:00, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Such as, perhaps, having his own article based on his notability in the arena of mind control?
And you are again making up your own guidelines, this time as regards "cut and paste." Tanaats 19:06, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a reliable source for Wikipedia. Really, do you have any independent sources from academia that show that "Hassan is quite a notable figure in the arena of mind control, and his theory is also notable in that same arena"? If not, I'll probably make the same argument in his own article for cutting it down. I can't find a single scholarly article by Hassan, or one that discusses his BITE model. BabyDweezil 19:12, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Even cult apologist Eileen Barker recommends his book. --Tilman 19:18, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
It is indeed quite relevant that he is granted "notable" status by Wikipedia.
And no matter how many times you repeat the "scholar" mantra it won't work. Tanaats 20:35, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
So I take it that neither of you has any independent sources from academia that show that "Hassan is quite a notable figure in the arena of mind control, and his theory is also notable in that same arena"? If not, I'll proceed to edit the section down to a reasonable size congruent with its noteworthiness. BabyDweezil 20:48, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
You're in no position of setting up new "rules" here, and you have no position to request research. Do you research yourself, start with google for Steve Hassan BITE. --Tilman 21:02, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
No matter how many times you repeat the scholar mantra it won't work. All you will achieve is to get this page protected, yourself probably blocked, and eventually the material will get back in anyway. It may take painfully grinding our way through DR up to Arbcom, but it will get back in. Tanaats 21:08, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Btw, the whole concept of mind control has only mixed support in the scientific community anyway. So the "BD-Rule" falls flat anyway, and sounds like an excuse to shorten the segment. --Tilman 21:13, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, Tilman, once again you have verified my very point. If the "whole concept of mind control has only mixed support in the scientific community" as you say, then we should simply show both sides in the scientific community. Hassan is not a member of the scientific community (not even in the neighborhood), he is a guy who occasionally gets quoted on talk shows and in tabloid newspaper, and nowhere else. Any suggestions as to which parts of all the extraneous material on Hassan to remove from the article? BabyDweezil 21:19, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Showing both sides is not done by deleting one. About his respect in the community, look here: [1][2] --Tilman 21:42, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
BD, don't do it. You have not achieved consensus. Tanaats 23:35, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Promotional book material culled from the guy's website is not a scholarly assessment. Where are the scholarly assessments and validations of the BITE model that warrant giving it a huge section in the article? Can you point me to a single scholarly article by Hassan or anyone else that discusses it? BabyDweezil 23:41, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely unnecessary. Tanaats 00:45, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I stumbled upon this article that was linked from another and noticed this section seems way overblown. It reads like a commercial for his "theories" (I'm being generous here). Perhaps it should be added to the Steve Hassan article itself? And Hassan is a crack pot to many people. An overzealous crack pot who personally greased the wheels of human slaughter for his "contribution" to the Branch Davidian massacre. Mr Christopher 15:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Does the Lifton section sound like a commercial, perhaps for his book?
Does the Singer section sound like a commercial, perhaps for her book?
Hassan's theory is notable, he is extremely widely known as both an author and practioner in the area, and he even has his own Wikipedia article. His mind control theory absolutely belongs in an article on mind control, and it should be fully laid out here.
Rather than expunging a theory that you apparently disagree with, what you need to do in order to fairly represnt your POV in the article is to add counterpointing information from an RS that documents your assertion that some people think that he is a "crackpot." Tanaats 19:20, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually yes, all of those sections are overblown, but particularly Hassan's which is completely fringe in the scientific community, even more so than the largely discredited Singer. The problem, Tanaats, in finding "counterpointing" information is that no one in the scientific community seems to take Hassan seriously enough to "counterpoint" it! What to do? And as Mr Christopher points out, not only is Hassan's ineptness apparent, such bogus, self-serving "expertise has contributed to deadly consequences. BabyDweezil 19:27, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
His presentation here should be in proportion to his appearance in RS; obviously not some fixed formula, but an agreeable treatment. How much RS is there on the individual and on his work in the complete body of RS on similar work or on the topic of the article? That is the index of how he should be presented here. --Justanother 19:31, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
This another innovative rule. Tanaats 19:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Looks like "somebody" needs to bone up on the rules around here. Here is your assignment. Figure out where this comes from:

"the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a verifiable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each."

--Justanother 19:43, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
What is innovative is your theory that "prominence" must of necessity be measured according to the number of mentions in secondary sources. You wouldn't get to first base in DR with this theory either. Tanaats 19:59, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I said it was an index, not a formula. I never mentioned "necessity". "Prominence" is a fuzzy term. But, tell you what. Please tell me how YOU would determine relative prominence. Here is some material to get you started:

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. Editors should provide a reliable source for material that is or likely may be challenged, or it may be removed.

--Justanother 20:19, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It is completely verifiable that this is Hassan's theory. In merely presenting a theory without comment we do not have to "verify" that it is true. There is no assertion of "truth" being made in the article. Tanaats 05:01, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent>

  • Does the Lifton section sound like a commercial, perhaps for his book?

Almost, but his work is seminal (ground zero and far more authorative and credible than any other person mentioned in this article) so it makes sense this section is as long and detailed as it is.

  • Does the Singer section sound like a commercial, perhaps for her book

I'm not sure about a "commercial" Yeah that one is wayyy tooo much information as well. Mr Christopher 20:05, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

If you want to boil down Singer's theory as well then I rest my case. Tanaats 20:12, 14 February 2007 (UTC)


The following I question in the section Arguments for:

  1. are the neurons or the brains of giant squids larger than the same of the human brain? The formulation is ambiguous, and not intelligible,
  2. Text says:
..humans and such experiments could potentially be applied [to] the human mind.
Yeah, that's true, but that experiments could potentially be applied proves nothing, the formulation misses the point: such an experiment must be successfully applied (to indicate either pro or con), and when successfully applied, it must clearly indicate pro electromagnetic neural control, to be eligible for a sentence in a section in wikipedia. That's the harsh reality!

Said: Rursus 20:29, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Answer to the first one: neuron size. I'll fix that by myself. Said: Rursus 20:40, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Mind control as entertainment[edit]

I suspect that the second example in "Mind control as entertainment" isn't all that useful for this article: while it certainly sounds like it fits, once you watch the video you realize that it's actually talking about people being able to control games with their minds. This article, on the other hand, focuses on sitations in which the mind is what is being controlled. 01:25, 8 July 2007 (UTC)


The material added includes links to credible and verifiable sources. 17:16, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

What about the TV show "Mind Control" hosted by Derren Brown? While I tend to be skeptical, this show is very interesting. If it is legitimate, should it be referenced here and if so, how?

Here is a link to one of his videos.


N8dawg 07:24, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Hack the brain!![edit]

The text says:

... subjects such as hypothetical neurotechnology that, it is claimed, might one day "hack" the human brain.[2]

I can personally report that it is virtually impossible. I'm a hacker, and I've tried to hack brains, but people tend to do what they do for their own reasons. Influence is easier, but it is like speaking to someone: they listen and filter away the facts they don't like. Said: Rursus 08:33, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Put it another way – the current article is kind of fringy and suffers from a slight conspiration theory like spirit. The topic could be seriously treated, but now it is somewhat dubious. Said: Rursus 08:39, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
The following are fringy and may need to be pushed around, removed, rewritten:
  1. hack-the-brain stuff (somebody will observe the cords out from the brain),
  2. subliminal advertising is essentially debunked as not working (the way the advertizers wish),
the psychology stuff seems good and valid/valuable to me, the conspiration theories should also be mentioned as a valid objection against some allegations. Actually, the article is quite nice, but it requires some technically oriented revision to remove the fringy stuff. Said: Rursus 11:47, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I've unanimously (as part of a world wide plot with one member – me!) decided that mind control in conspiracy theories shall deserve one separate article. It shouldn't be merged with conspiracy theories, because that article has a high quality, and treats a partially different topic, the "truths" behind alleged conspiracies, and means to determine if individual theories are viable or not. That is one of the most important and valuable knowledges today on Internet, and I wouldn't take the risk to compromize it with untechnical speculations on what is possible or not. Said: Rursus 13:42, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
And so we got rid of some more than 20 [citation needed] and similar [unverifiable nonsens] remarks! That was more than half of them. Yippee!! Said: Rursus 14:05, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I'll do approximatelly the same with the "trivia" section, but for a quite different reason: the so called "trivia" section is good and intriguing, but the topic is about using "mind-control" as per science fiction and as per fantasy logic as an exciting plot item. This is entertainment and very funny, while the Mind Control article is serious and not any laughing matter at all. Said: Rursus 14:50, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Now remaining:
[citation needed] [original research] [this source's reliability may need verification]
3 0 0
The hidden truth about everything is not residing in this article anymore, all revelations now are in the üeberphantastiqual article Mind control in conspiracy theories, go read it, but take your pills beforehand! Said: Rursus 15:07, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


The acronym "NRM" is used several times in the scholarly research section without being defined. --Sam (talk) 15:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Scientific consensus[edit]

Mindcontrol abilities that are PROVEN: 1. Hypnosis. People under hypnosis can be given instructions to perform activities they would not normally do. What is controversial is whether someone could be pursuaded to do activities that violate in extreme ways social norms or would harm themselves or others. Furthermore, people can be given amnesia via hypnosis, both retrograde and anterograde. They can be made to forget what IS happening and they can be made to forget what DID happen (retrograde). If you go on youtube and search under hypnosis you can watch some people who are hypnotised perform. 2. Hypnotic Drugs. There is a class of drugs called hypnotics, of which "roofies" are the most well known, that can put a person into hypnotic state against their will. Many of the same mindcontrol techniques that can be done under hypnosis can be done with hypnotic drugs. Hypnotic drugs are generally more powerful and more reliable than hypnosis and don't need the victim's cooperation. Again, amnesia is key here. See wikipedia entry for Flunitrazepam. 3. Chemical weapons. There are whole lists of drugs that can incapacitate soldiers. The one I thought was particuarly creepy made the victims "disrobe and self-pick". See wikipedia entry for chemical warfare.

Less well proven but probably possible mind control abilities: 1. Induction of hypnosis using electromagnetic waves. 2. Induction of desire for crowd dispersal, feelings of fear, feelings of confidence and other emotions via bombarding humans with electomagnetic waves that affect emotions. 3. Causing a human to hear voices, again by directing electromagnetic waves into that persons head. This one usually invokes much laughter and the conclusion that the believer must be schizophrenic, however it is well documented fact that it can be done, at least to some limited extent. It is not called telepathy once it can be done. When it can be done, it is just called a communication system. See wikipedia entry for microwave auditory effect. Do a google on synthetic telepathy. 4. Being able to read someone's thoughts by analyzing the electromagnetic waves coming from the person's head. The source of these electromagnetic waves being the person's electrical pertabations occuring in the nerves inside that person's brain. Although this may sound a bit far fetched, it is at least theoretically possible since thoughts are electrically based impulses and all varying electicity results in electromagnetic radiation. Biofeedback is commonly known. See wikipedia entry for Electroencephalography.

So, when you add all this up. Drug hypnosis, amnesia, mind reading and sending thoughts to someone's brain, you have a pretty good system for performing mindcontrol on unwitting subjects.

Now who would do such a thing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aviatorpilotman (talkcontribs) 18:13, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Someone needs to put in a paragraph on "Clandestine Service" type Mind control. The basics include 1. Hypnosis and post hypnotic suggestions either by hypnotic drugs, electronics or traditional "talk" hynosis (or some combination of these). 2. Communication to that person to execute actions 3. Amnesia so the person does not remember what has happened. Combine these and you have manipulative mind control.

I question what "often accepted" means. Did the person who wrote those two words mean that many individual psychologists and psychiatrists advocate these theories, no matter what their governing bodies (like the APA) has said? In other words, are these advocates mavericks, going against the scientific consensus?

Note that the article says that Singer's ideas were not accepted by the psychological association, and that the psychiatry community's diagnostic manual dropped it.

I think this article needs to be more neutral here. --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Does any source have a single piece of evidense that cults use mind control? Evrythn1outof8infity (talk) 01:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Content moved from Third-party views on Falun Gong[edit]

However, Margaret Singer's thought control theory greatly divides scholars. The scientific evidence on any "thought control" phenomena remains inconclusive. For example, in 1984 the American Psychological Association (APA) requested Margaret Singer to set up a working group called Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control (DIMPAC). In 1987, the committee submitted its final report to the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology of the APA. On 11 May 1987 the Board rejected the report. In the rejection memo is stated: "Finally, after much consideration, BSERP does not believe that we have sufficient information available to guide us in taking a position on this issue."[1] The Center for Studies on New Religions wrote in Margaret Singer's obituary that "Singer's decline started with the rejection of a report of a commission she had chaired by the American Psychological Association in 1987," and referred to another ruling of 1990, which excluded "her testimony on brainwashing as not part of mainline science." Though Singer is still supposed to be "lionized by the anti-cult movement" and "some media," the article contends that her increased reception of criticism "even by 'moderate' anti-cultists," means that she has appeared "increasingly irrelevant" to the "'new' cult wars of the late 1990s."[2] Singer's theory has both its detractors and supporters.

Stephen Hassan attempts to construct a theoretical model for understanding how "thought control" might operate. He suggests a BITE (Behavior, Information, Thought and Emotion) model, where "mind control" is as a combination of control over behavior, information, thought and emotions.[3] Three of Mr. Hassan's criteria--control of behavior, thoughts and emotions--were components to the theory of cognitive dissonance developed by Leon Festinger. According to Hassan, "it is by manipulating these three elements that cults gain control over a person's identity." Claiming to draw on his experience working with "former cult members," Hassan adds a fourth component to his BITE model--control of information. For each of these components, Hassan provides a list of specific practices (e.g.: a need to internalize a group's doctrine as "Truth" is one aspect of Thought Control). Hassan suggests that "destructive mind control" can be determined when the "overall effect" of these four elements "promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause." He qualifies that it is not necessary for "every single item" to be included. He contends that "mind-controlled cult members" can be integrated members of society, but "still be unable to think for themselves and act independently." With regard to Falun Gong, Hassan claims on his website to have a "strong impression" that "Thought control and Phobia indoctrination is very much used," and elsewhere that Li Hongzhi is "the cult extreme" and the "authoritarian stereotype."[4] Though he says that he has not had an opportunity to interview any "individuals who have been very involved with this group and decided to leave," and is thus not convinced that Falun Gong "fulfils [his] BITE model in its entirety."[5]

According to an essay published in The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, the "mind control" and "brainwashing" theories advocated by the anti-cult movement are not generally accepted by the scientific community.[6] Lorraine Derocher has asked whether this kind of "cultism" could be perceived as "a new form of racism."[7] Another name in the anti-cult movement, Jean-Marie Abgrall, had his version of the "cultic brainwashing theory" attacked by the Social Justice Research, which contends that upon analysis, the theory is "essentially identical to the pseudoscientific theory that was developed first by the American CIA as a propaganda device to combat communism," and further as an ideological device that was put to use by the American anti-cult movement, in an attempt to rationalize efforts of persecution and control of minority religious groups. It is claimed that the theory has been researched and evaluated scientifically in several contexts, and in each of them has been shown to be "ineffective in coercively changing worldviews." The article concludes that because of this pattern of disconfirmation, testimony based on brainwashing theory has been opposed as unscientific by relevant professional academic organizations and "repeatedly excluded from American legal trials." It states that as a consequence, "neither legal decisions nor public policy with respect to minority religions should be based on Abgrall's appropriation of this pseudoscientific theory."[8]

the above has been moved from Third-party views on Falun Gong. If you think any of this content can be used to improve this article, please do so. --Simon D M (talk) 21:17, 19 March 2008 (UTC)


"closely related to hypnosis"? Maybe to an un-informed person with only a pop-culture idea of the concepts. Discuss/justify this claim or it's gone. (talk) 16:39, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I say nuke it. I'm a certified hypnotist and anyone who knows how hypnosis works knows that it has nothing to do with mind control other than in movies and novels. Sbabb (talk) 21:15, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

This statement is totally false. Even a quick glance at the literature will tell you that it is near-impossible to exert "mind control" through hypnosis. (talk) 13:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

It depends on how the hypnotism is used in the process. If you consider hypnotism as just a puzzle piece to the other various techniques being used in concert. I believe it is very effective.(Lan Doughlas (talk) 08:04, 28 October 2008 (UTC))

added refs to parental alienation section[edit]

I have added a couple of refs to the section and fixed one. ResearchEditor (talk) 21:26, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Mind Control, not the same as brainwashing[edit]

The beginning of this article states that mind control is not the same as brainwashing. Later in the article there is reference to Lifton's Model of Mind Control. His book discusses "brainwashing in China." This seems contradictory. I am considering removing the comment at the beginning of the article. any feedback? John196920022001 (talk)

I've never understood the (supposed) difference between mind control and brainwashing. I wish someone would explain the difference.
If not, I propose we merge brainwashing into Mind control. --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:53, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Perfectly agree. From what I can understand, "mind control" is a very generic, vague expression, and lots of different heterogeneous theories are good candidates to be classified as "mind control theories". The "brainwashing" seems to be just one more (and probably the oldest one).
Nightbit (talk) 06:11, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I am totally astounded by this merger. Mind control and brainwashing are two entirely different concepts even if they share a few commonalities! Was this even discussed in a public venue or just among 1-2 enlightened participants???--Tallard (talk) 22:19, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Note: this is my first time writing on wiki so bear with me.

I'm also against the merger.

The terms 'brain washing' and 'mind control' should be avoided because of the 'nut factor'. This is how they were able to take down Margaret Singer. The terms and language used by respected and recognized authorities in the field should be our guide for discussion and framing of this issue. Also there should be an attempt to keep this discussion clean and concise. There is a temptation to explain in excess, but in this situation less is more. Give them easy to crasp concepts with links to the detailed historical pages. I want my co-workers, law-enforcement, victim assistance agencies, etc. to be able to read this page and get what I'm talking about and HELP ME, not roll their eyes and walk away.

I would prefer to go back to using Coercive Pursuation as the main link. And explain how it is used in modern day life in different settings to with varying degrees of sophitication. The historical uses should come at the end, everyone knows the historical stuff. We are trying to open their eyes up to the modern day uses and abuses and help us build a framework for these discussions where we can be heard and not just shuffled off stage. For example:

Institutional settings: corporations, schools and community programs they use the term 'coercive pursuasion' or 'coercive psychology' to describe a clinical and methodological forms behavior modification intended to discourage negative behaviors or acceptance of policy changes and are not intended to violate the target's civil rights (see human resources, schools, health marketing campaigns).

Large group awareness settings: an organic form of coercive pursuasion that can evolves in groups who come together for a common cause. Their influence and power can eventually grow to far exceed their actual size relative to the population at large. One technique is is 'political correctness' (sacred cows, taboos) which keeps both the politicians and the populace at large in check from speaking truthfully about hot-topic issues (immigration, gay marriage, abortion) least they incur a swift and harsh social backlash including ostrazation, loss of job and ruined careers. These groups do violate civil rights by attempting to label oppositional speech as 'racism', 'anti-semetic', 'misogynist', 'baby killers', etc. Mobbing at the DoJ, Juan Williams, Helen Thomas, Lou Dobbs, etc)

Cult settings: use coercive pursuasion to surpress members from questioning ideologies or from leaving the group. This cruder process of coercive pursuasion, in the past commonly referred to as brainwashing or mind control (see WACO, Jones Town, etc.)

Workplace mobbing: In the workplace 'mobbing' uses coercive pursuasion in the form of covert harassment used by employees against each other. (see 'The five steps to mobbing')

List of famous cases 'briefly' described with links to other pages for detailed information.

Modern examples of coercive pursuasion: Historical examples of coercive pursuation: — Preceding unsigned comment added by KeepingSweetinSeattle (talkcontribs) 22:44, 28 May 2011 (UTC)


This links is arguably related to the page, but it's not a good choice as an external link - too short, and not really about "mind control". WLU (t) (c) (rules - simple rules) 12:51, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Authoritative sources[edit]

I understand from here (if anybody could double-check I would greatly appreciate that), that, in the following authoritative texts, the expressions "mind control" & "brainwashing" are never and nowhere considered:

  • International Dictionary of Psichoanalisis, Alan de Mijolla, 2004;
  • International Encyclopedia Of The Social & Behavioral Sciences, N. J. Smelser P. B.Baltes, 2001;
  • Encyclopedia of the Human Brain, V.S. Ramachandran, 2002;
  • The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, Robert A. Wilson and Frank C. Keil, 1999;
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology, Edgar F. Borgatta e Rhonda J. V. Montgomery, 2000;
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, Ellen Thackery, 2002;
  • Contemporary Clinical Psycholgy, Thomas G. Plante, 2005;
  • Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology, Ch. D. Spielberg, 2005;
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, Bonnie R. Strickland, 2000.

Since all these theories are scarsely considered (or not considered at all!) by the relative scientific community, I'm wondering if we can use this information in the article somehow.

Nightbit (talk) 06:04, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Mind Control - Supersonic wave control[edit]

Psychologist Bertrob Miths describes two reasons why, he says, would create an atmosphere in which thought reform is possible.

If an individual has the will to and the intelligence, with practice the subject can project supersonic sound waves to others. What ever the subject is thinking can be projected in the mind of the patient. No one has yet discovered how to hold connection to constantly send controls. It is almost impossible for most humans to send thoughts to each other.

Twin telepathy. Twins that share similar genes will find it easier to send messages as their brain waves are similar. However, they’re in a constant sub-conscious battle that means the two subjects can't ever lack sub-conscious concentration, nor can they stop attempting to control their twins thoughts. (talk) 17:41, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

As a scientific theory[edit]

In an edit comment, I wrote the article must not pre-suppose the idea that mind control really exists, let alone that it is a scientific theory currently held to be valid.

What is the editorial consensus of Wikipedians about this? Should the article assume that mind control really exists?

If so, should we describe it as a scientific theory? If it's a scientific theory, what are the Wikipedia:Science guidelines for describing (1) precisely what the hypothesis is and (2) what evidence there is in favor or against the hypothesis and (3) what conclusions scientists or scientific bodies have drawn about whether the evidence is consistent with the theory?

If not, are there any quotable sources who have declared that it is not a scientific theory or that it is an idea which is (something like) "outside the realm of science"? [Disclaimer: I am a member of the Unification Church which has been accused of using mind control, and I object to this accusation: I consider it false.] I recall reading about a psychologist who tried to prove that Mind Control was a valid scientific theory, with the result being that a major American scientific body declared the theory to be "unscientific" or "unsupported" or something like that. I could use some help digging up the references for this and writing about it in an NPOV way, but only of course if we have the necessary editorial consensus.

Or maybe should we just say that there is (still?) debate within the scientific community about whether mind control methods exist, or really work? (Or how well they work, or on what sort of people?) --Uncle Ed (talk) 17:41, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Well there is Stockholm Syndrome which could be called a form of "mind control" int he context this article talks about the Koren War. The problem is finding material connecting the two.--BruceGrubb (talk) 21:35, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I'm suggesting that Brainwashing get merged into this page. To a large degree the two have been content forks of each other for some time. These terms are both vague but as such they are frequently used to describe the same set of supposed phenomena.PelleSmith (talk) 01:46, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I've put a working copy of the merge proposal here -- Talk:Mind_control/Merge_proposal.PelleSmith (talk) 16:16, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
It looks much better than any previous version of mind control or brainwashing that I've ever seen in my 7+ years at Wikipedia. I vote for the merge. --Uncle Ed (talk) 03:59, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Merge complete[edit]

I have merged the two entries into a sleeker and seriously edited version. It is clearly lacking on several fronts since I am no expert but I consider it a vast improvement to the horrible entries that preceded it. Please help by expanding and editing this entry.PelleSmith (talk) 17:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

About time someone did this. And it is an improvement. Thanks! --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:08, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Recent addition[edit]

I have reverted a recent addition of material about "proto-brainwashing". As it stood it was original research. Please use reliable sources to connect the material to the entry, particularly regarding the primary source usages of books like Animal Farm.PelleSmith (talk) 11:29, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

The reversion mentioned related not to "a recent addition of material" but to restoration of material deleted without explanation from the former (now merged) "Brainwashing" article at 1518 and 1604 on 2009-09-09 and subsequently furnished with reliable sources and explanatory linkages only to fall foul of a "disruptive" labeling. The material provides well-sourced references and relevant, specific quotations which relate to the origins and usage of some of the recognized synonyms of "mind control" - as paraded in the lead. As such it represents not WP:OR but facts of opinion and usage relating to the pre-history of the concept that later became known as "brainwashing"/"mind control". The latest version of the material made it clear that it did not use "books like Animal Farm" as primary sources, but as cited examples of usage taken from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a respected source on historical word-usage. - I propose to restore the reverted material to encourage fellow editors to refine it and fill in some of the gaps in the history of mind-control concepts and extend the world-wide scope of our article beyond the mere China/US spheres. -- Pedant17 (talk) 00:40, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Anything that clarifies the terminology sounds like it would be good. Hopefully, that will make the theories easier to understand - and, indirectly, easier for readers to determine whether those theories have any relation to reality. --Uncle Ed (talk) 01:25, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Pedant it is OR to include material about "re-education" without a reliable source connecting this idea to mind-control or thought reform, etc. Connections to the Inquisition are based on an academic's comment that the two bare a resemblance, which is not fit to source such statements here. The show trials bit is about Hunter and China so clearly it can be worked in there if it belongs at all. The quote provided about the USSR proves no connection to this entry at all. Of course your edit did not only add the a fore mentioned material it also added a number of unnecessary and disruptive tags and weasel words all with the effect of pushing your POV. To make matters worse you only now have decided to grace us on the talk page. I see no reason to include any of the changes you've made. They are pure POV laden disruption.PelleSmith (talk) 03:04, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


Re comments: in response to the suggestion that "it is OR to include material about "re-education" without a reliable source connecting this idea to mind-control or thought reform, etc." - Since the article already sports examples of "re-education" and since Re-education directs readers of Wikipedia via Reeducation and Brainwashing to Mind control, we can either break that nexus of links and examples or note that one can also use "re-education" as a synonym for the the concepts discussed in this article. In the meantime, the relevance of the history of the word "re-education" stands. -- Pedant17 (talk) 06:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Please see WP:V. Find a reliable source and there wont be a problem.PelleSmith (talk) 20:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the reference. In the interim I await with interest the fate of the problem of the existing linkages between mind control and re-education. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

The Inquisition as a precursor of later "brainwashing"[edit]

Re comments: when an academic detects a "striking resemblance" between the practices of the Inquisition and 20th-century brainwashing, that cited connection becomes worthy of notice. We can supplement noting the connection by quoting Schein: "Thought reform contains elements which are evident in Chinese culture (emphasis on interpersonal sensitivity, learning by rote and self-cultivation); in methods of extracting confessions well known in the Papal Inquisition (13th century) and elaborated through the centuries, especially by the Russian secret police [...]" (Edgar Henry Schein, Encyclopedia Britannica (1963) article "Brainwashing": vol 4, page 91). -- Pedant17 (talk) 06:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

contains elements which are evident in ... this doesn't cut it. If you want to pretend like the Inquisition practiced brainwashing at least find someone with relevant historical expertise willing to apply a brainwashing model to the Inquisition. These off the cuff comparisons are meaningless.PelleSmith (talk) 20:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Anyone wishing to defend the proffered straw-man (of the Inquisition practicing brainwashing) will not doubt profit from this advice. In the interim I detect no opposition to my quite different proposed edit, which states with reference to proto-brainwashing (not to brainwashing) that "Earlier forms of coercive persuasion occurred (for example) during the Inquisition [...]" and supports this with a sourced quote detecting "a striking resemblance" between the procedures of different eras. I now propose supplementing this contention with Schein's summary of "evident" elements "well known in the Papal Inquisition [...] and elaborated through the centuries". Solid scholarship or "off the cuff" comparisons" by recognized authorities? Let the reader determine on the basis of the material presented. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Show trials pre-date the labelling of "brainwashing"[edit]

Re comments: the phenomenon of show trials preceded the introduction of the "term "brainwashing". We can appropriately discuss show trials in the era before the Korean War, as well as thereafter. -- Pedant17 (talk) 06:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Not according to the sourcing you had. Do the reasearch, find sources talking about the connection between mind control and pre-war show trials and there wont be a problem. Again, see WP:V.PelleSmith (talk) 20:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
The source (David Seed) wrote generically: "[brain-changing] described the procedures leading up to a show trial, for instance, [...]". If we object to every source that fails to stop and interpolate an historical explanation of the scope of its terminology, we might not get very far with writing an encyclopedia. If we object to the contention that show trials existed before (say) 1950 we might end up demanding no historico/cultural awareness of our readers whatsoever, with a time-line provided for every sentence. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)


Re comments: the quoted (and sourced) text on Mindszenty: "In a piece entitled ' Mindszenty: drug? Third degree? Hypnosis?' the Daily Mail reported that the cardinal had been dosed with 'confession drugs such as Benzedrine, amphetamine, scopolamine and actedron'. A RAND Institute study of the confession phenomenon concurred, concluding that the Soviets were using drugs and hypnosis, among other techniques, to prepare victims for trial. Church authorities felt the same: a spokesman for Pius XII commented that if Mindszenty had indeed confessed, he had been forced to do so by drugs." - exemplifies thinking ca 1948 on mind control and hints at common themes associated with that topic - even though it refers to events a few months before the Korean War. -- Pedant17 (talk) 06:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the WP:OR. Reliable sources actually connecting this to mind control please.PelleSmith (talk) 20:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Huh? The context of this information on Mindszenty relates to precursor-concepts, not directly to the phenomenon subsequently known as "mind control".. We can write an article which implies (as at present) that mind control sprang mysteriously into existence in Korea ca 1950, or we can find some way to hint at origins and prototypes and general proto-trends, whether vague and indistinct, or (as here) with more specific mention (within a citation) of third-degree, drugs, hypnosis, confessions, victims, forced compliance and "other techniques". If we can associate these elements with godless communism, so much the better. If we take our quote specifically from a book on brainwashing (Streatfield), it may even pass muster as having potential relevance to mind control defined as having to do with "a broad range of psychological tactics thought to subvert an individual's control of his or her own thinking, behavior, emotions, or decision making". -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

"Unnecessary and disruptive tags and weasel words"[edit]

Re comments: since I have not added any "[u]nnecessary and disruptive tags" or "weasel words" to the article, and since talk-pages should focus on discussing improvements to the article rather than speculating on some fictive POV, I'll ignore irrelevant accusations and merely ask what or whom I have allegedly disrupted. My tags have the function of seeking self-evident improvements to weasel-wording and/or facts: editors should address their substance rather than remove them wholesal My wording improvements attempt to improve accuracy, to align text with cited quotes, to remove inappropriate bolding, to improve style and layout, to enhance linking and to correct mis-quotations. Failing a detailed and specific proof that my edits do indeed all constitute "pure POV laden disruption" we can restore them, no?. -- Pedant17 (talk) 06:48, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

No because they remain disruptive. You added [according to whom?] tags to the lead when the lead summarizes the entry. You rearranged section titles to make it seem like the entry is not about a fringe concept which used to be more well regarded. You added deceptive language to make it seem like scholars haven't abandoned all theories of mind control in scholarship on NRMs, but only Margaret Singer's. Other "style" edits make a negligible contribution at best. I consider the vast majority POV pushing and disruption.PelleSmith (talk) 20:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Despite my explanations of my edits, my question as to "what or whom I have allegedly disrupted" remains unanswered. - The {{whom}} tags in the lead remind us that even lead summarizing need not eschew the good guidance of avoiding weasel phrasing as per . - My edit of a section title (from "New religious movements (NRMs) and the shift of focus" to "New religious movements (NRMs): recruitment and retention" aimed to better reflect the content of the section and to avoid the sweeping dismissiveness of "the" in "the change of focus". (Bear in mind that we may well want to include material on (say) psychiatric mind-control in the Brezhnev era at some stage...). My edit of a section-title from 'The Korean War and the origin of brainwashing' to 'The Korean War and the origin of "brainwashing"' merely highlighted that the term "brainwashing" (as opposed to the concept of brainwashing) dates from the days of the Korean War. I deeply regret giving any inadvertent implication even suggesting the idea of a "fringe concept". How did I do that? I trust to the editorial skills of my fellow-Wikipedians to edit out any such blatant violation of the NPOV doctrine. - Since I did not "add[...] deceptive language to make it seem like scholars haven't abandoned all theories of mind control in scholarship on NRMs", but merely aligned the wording to reflect the supplied Melton quote more accurately in its reference to "a theory" (singular) and "the thesis proposed by Margaret Singer and colleagues in the 1980s" (singular), I'll restore that passage absent reliable sourcing of more sweeping polemical views. - I appreciate the recognition that at least some of my "style" edits make a contribution, however negligible. What a shame that bulk reversion has obliterated such incremental improvements to our encyclopedia. - I await an explanation of how "the vast majority" (which specifically?) of my helpful and considered edits constitute "POV pushing and disruption". Then we can discuss the detail. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Pendant if you want destroy entries with your disruptive POV pushing go ahead. I don't have time for this right now. I tried to rescue this entry from the horrid nonsense that POV editors had turned it into. You want to turn it back go for it. I'm done.PelleSmith (talk) 03:54, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
The topic is highly controversial, so I don't mind if anyone wants to change the intro like this:
  • From "mind control is similar to X"
  • To "Ima Goodsource likened mind control to X in her book Control and Freedom (1994, Ran Dumbhouse, Sydney)"
We needn't pick and choose which ideas are obviously true. It's better to attribute every disputed idea its source. Okay?
We can also clarify section titles like this: Origin of the term "brainwashing". --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:21, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

The Inquisition[edit]

Perhaps it is not original research by us contributors, but an idea which reliable sources have mentioned in print:

  • that modern brainwashing, mind control, and/or "deprogramming" is related to the faith-breaking activities of the Inquisition carried out by Catholics in previous centuries

There's a book by John Biermans which contains quotes.

  • Biermans, J. 1986, The Odyssey of New Religious Movements, Persecution, Struggle, Legitimation: A Case Study of the Unification Church Lewiston, New York and Queenston, Ontario: The Edwin Melton Press ISBN 0889467102

Let's see what published authors have had to say about this, shall we? --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:15, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Why only "cult" groups?[edit]

As a person born to a fundamentalist Christian family (Baptists), I know first hand that they have a careful program starting in the church nursery and coupled with home prayer, bible study, terrible threats concerning the afterlife, music, social programs and etc. to inculcate, indoctrinate and generally make sure that the kid has two options: 1. become a believer (believe that his/her body is possessed by at least two other spirits besides his/her own, "talking" with Holy Spirit, and hearing His voice, belief that God controls people in one's life like puppets to reward and punish and to teach, etc. or 2. become a psychological and social misfit in the painful process of withdrawal from this thought system. I took the latter route and it took two decades to become psychologically free, requiring a great deal of guilt, fear and suffering. I think that these "mainstream" religious groups with a concerted program of religious inculcation for children and youth people (which includes their life at home as an extension) should also be mentioned here. (talk) 03:01, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Also, because most of us... I think... believe that the governments of most countries are more advanced in technology than cults accused of mind control, most governments probably use more mind control than cults if mind control did indeed exist. We should not directly relate cults to mind control. Evrythn1outof8infity (talk) 01:33, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, why only cult groups. There are plenty of people on the net complaining or warning against regular, insiduous childhood brainwashing by mainstream religious groups. The thing to do is to find some sourced material in this regard and include it in the article.Civilizededucation (talk) 08:52, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Space Preservation Act of 2001[edit]

Does this (failed) act have any useful relevance to the article, beyond the fact that the author of the bill decided to mention the term "mind control" in a list of potential spaceborne weapons that the Act would outlaw ("radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations")? --McGeddon (talk) 12:38, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

  • At a minimum I'd suggest that demonstration of any such relevance should contain credible, cited evidence that remote mind control from space is a real-world, plausibly viable technology and not just a tinfoil-fat fantasy. Getheren (talk) 17:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
  • A verifiably widely-held "tinfoil-[h]at fantasy", or a theory with prominently notable adherents would deserve mention. A marginal belief less so. -- Pedant17 (talk) 04:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Heya. Can someone help over at synthetic telepathy. There's someone there making huge edits to the article introducing masses of fringe theory stuff about mind control through telepathy and conspiracy theories based on top secret military technology that (apparently) led to this "Space Preservation Act of 2001". Need a few more voices to speak and a few more eyes to look over the text. GDallimore (Talk) 20:20, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Drastic misuse of "who?" tags[edit]

It would be a good idea, I think, to go through this article and examine every single weasel-words tag for appropriateness. Many of the "by whom" tags seem to be indirection errors caused by some overzealous editor, who mindlessly presumed that every use of the passive voice necessarily represented a use of weasel words. (That's being charitable; the alternative explanation is deliberate tag vandalism.)

For example, It was believed[by whom?] that the Chinese in North Korea used such techniques to disrupt the ability of captured troops to effectively organize and resist their imprisonment.[4] This sentence is not asserting as fact that the Chinese used mind-control techniques; it is asserting as fact that the belief existed, and a citation is provided for that assertion. So this tag is unjustified. But there are many more examples to be found. Getheren (talk) 23:38, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

In cases like It was believed[by whom?] that the Chinese in North Korea used such techniques [...] the fact that the belief existed does not come into question. But -- big "but" -- the sentence expresses its message vaguely and loosely. The reader cannot tell who held the belief -- a single observer? a handful of commentators? a large proportion of the defense intelligence community? 97.8 percent of the adult population of the Western world? Even if we have a citation, this problem may well remain inscrutable. The "whom" tag in such cases simply points out the vagueness and suggests that some knowledgeable Wikipedian provide more detail or re-cast the claim, which otherwise could lead to the article lacking balance and thus possibly drifting into losing neutrality. Given that the topic of "mind control" can provoke particular extremes and vehemence, we need to word such sentences carefully and accurately. Tags can help promote such accuracy: we need to encourage them and address them rather than simply eliminate their usage.-- Pedant17 (talk) 04:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Mind control conspiracy theory[edit]

Mind control is a general term for a number of controversial theories proposing that an individual's thinking, behavior, emotions or decisions can, to a greater or lesser extent, be manipulated at will by outside sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 14:36, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Mind control is a common feature in many conspiracy theories, as it provides a mechanism by which an alleged conspiracy could maintain control over innocent people, prevent knowledge of the conspiracy's actions and, in some cases, prevent the conspiracy theorist's intended audience from believing him. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 17:13, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Theories that involve the United States government frequently refer to MKULTRA. Radio waves are frequently claimed to be used for mind control: radio and television broadcast towers, and more recently cell phone towers, are often considered suspect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 17:20, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

this kind of comment can be found on internet: "they can read your mind, tell you ugly things inside of your head, they even can control your memories, bring up bad/good memories, can slow you down, make you angry, aggravated, pissed off, now they ruining people life and turning people into psycopath" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 17:16, 14 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 17:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC) --Alberto89m- dai, parliamone! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 21:37, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

i can't underdstand why you are cutting that link please talk at the discussion --Alberto89m- dai, parliamone! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alberto89m (talkcontribs) 21:40, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I doubt these theories are likely to be true, but logic tells me they're much more likely than cults using mind control.
1. Cults are less advanced in technology than almost any government, and all it takes is ONE government to use mind control.
2. Systems of government have used conspiracies throughout history, but cults have done very few such actions.
3. Cults acceapt anyone who is willing to join, and governments choose who it consists of, so cultists are overall less loyal and more likely to leave & give out the conspiracy.
Of course, believing in such a government conspiracy is quite absurd, but my point is believing in cult mind control is much more absurd, and I do not in any way believe in a mind control conspiracy. Evrythn1outof8infity (talk) 01:47, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

external links[edit]

I really don't understand why these conspiracy theory sites were restored, they're clearly not in line with WP:EL. The first one is copyright infringement as well.Prezbo (talk) 04:39, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Points taken. However, mind control is often about conspiracy theories, which would deem such links appropriate. And I see that you don't say which link is CRI, nor why you consider the first link CRI. In any case, the preservation of article material is such that it is the removal of material that must be clearly justified. Merely stating that the links are "dubious" or "inappropriate" is insufficient. If you produce the CRI link and allow me to confirm that it's infringement, then yes, it must go. However, as I said, you'll need to come up with something better than just that the links are about conspiracy theories since much of "mind control" is all about said theories.
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  05:18, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I watched the first part of the Google video. How can we autolabel it CRI? Seems to me that Google is taking a big risk if it is indeed infringement, don't you agree?
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  05:36, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
WP:EL says that sites should be linked if they "contain neutral and accurate material that is relevant to an encyclopedic understanding of the subject." These sites don't, they contain conspiracy theories. WP:EL states that we should avoid "Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research, except to a limited extent in articles about the viewpoints which such sites are presenting." These sites contain conspiracy theories, which are an example of "factually inaccurate material." I guess you could argue that these sites should be retained as an example of the conspiracy theories discussed in this article. However this article actually only mentions mind control conspiracy theories in passing, and there's no indication that these are particularly good examples of this "viewpoint" (their authors aren't mentioned in the article). Also if you want to include sites on this basis they should only be present "to a limited extent," i.e. you don't need five of them. They should also be clearly labeled as fringe/conspiracy theories rather than reliable sources. I think it is just embarrassing and unencyclopedic for Wikipedia to assist these random people in their self-promotion efforts, but I guess I don't know how to convince you of that. The first link is a video titled "Mind Control: America's Secret War." If you google that title you can see that it's a documentary that aired on the History Channel, which is why it's copyrighted.Prezbo (talk) 06:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Oh, no, you do know how to convince me, because you just did. I think it's a good idea to choose one good, clear and concise example of a conspiracy-theory link and label it as such. It might even be better as an inline citation to the "in passing" treatment in the article rather than just a labeled external link. As for Google's blatant infringement of copyright, shall you inform the authorities or shall I?
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  06:41, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, that's fine. I guess I have to admit that I can't find a policy-based reason not to keep one of them.Prezbo (talk) 06:48, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Cool— which link do you think would be best to keep, and where in the article would you like to see it cited? or do you think it's better to just label it as a CT in the External links section?
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  07:17, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't really have an opinion about this, whatever you prefer.Prezbo (talk) 01:16, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, Prezbo, after taking a closer look, there is really no place in the article where any of these links seem to fit as an inline citation. And with other comments in this thread, it seems that none of them can be considered as viable external links, at least that appears to be the consensus. Best of everything to you and yours!
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  09:02, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Also, you seem to think WP:PRESERVE means there should be a general bias for retaining content rather than deleting it, but it doesn't say that and I can't think of any reason that approach would be preferable. In general people making changes have an obligation to explain why, but in this case the justification is really obvious if you've read WP:EL, which everyone has.Prezbo (talk) 06:32, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Actually, the awareness should be of the constant and hopefully productive stress between WP:PRESERVE and WP:BURDEN. Those who remove controversial material, where the removal is challenged, are obligated to show why the material must be removed just as the burden is on the person who adds controversial material to show that it's reliably sourced. But that's a separate issue that you and I can discuss further if you like. The specific problem we had regarding this article is hopefully resolved amicably between us?
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  06:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there's no need to talk about this further and I probably shouldn't have brought it up in the first place.Prezbo (talk) 07:00, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
There's a DMOZ link, and it seems to have plenty of conspiracy theories attached to it. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 10:38, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Isn't linking to a DMOZ entry a cop-out, if you know it has links to WP:ELNO unallowed EL's? I'm removing it and directing curiosity seekers to this talk section.Jeremystalked(law 296) 02:03, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Yeah its Garbage not nessecary or proper to have in EXternal links, besides another rule WP:EL is that Youtube and Goggle video are automatic "No" unless the article is specifly on the external link (like a Viral Video article) Weaponbb7 (talk) 11:31, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

There are also conspiracy theories inside the srticle itself about cults using mind control. Evrythn1outof8infity (talk) 01:57, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Citation for Maoist practice[edit]

Herewith a "needed citation" for the claim that 'methodologies of coercive persuasion used under the Maoist regime in China aimed to transform individuals with a "feudal" or capitalist mindset into "right-thinking" members of the new Chinese social system.[citation needed]':

Taylor, Kathleen (2006). Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 5 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). ISBN 9780199204786. Retrieved 2010-07-02. "Many followers of Chairman Mao viewed their techniques of 're-education' or 'thought reform' in a [...] positive light, their aim being to scrub out the poison of imperialist and reactionary thoughts." 

We can reword the text (and correct the grammar) accordingly. -- Pedant17 (talk) 02:11, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Thanks; I've tweaked the grammar a bit and changed "feudal and capitalist" to "reactionary imperialist". Does the source also confirm that "xǐ năo" literally translates as "wash brain"? --McGeddon (talk) 12:44, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

why cant mind controle be used in a good way? what if there is a patient that is high on drugs that cant tell the difference between real and not real. why cant that person help the patient and the paramedics that would have to deal with them? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Fringe Website Used As a Source[edit]

This passage "Hypnotic, manipulative-type mind control employs a three-pronged approach. The first is induction of hypnotic trance. Hypnosis can be induced by traditional "verbal" means, by chemical means using hypnotic drugs such as flunitrazepan, scopolomine or burundanga, or possibly other methods. The second stage consists of inducing, via suggestion and command, the individual to perform actions under the guidance and control of their "handler". The third is induction of amnesia to the hypnotic event.[16]" is utterly unreferenced except for some anonymous website that appears to be a conspiracy crack group. I suggest it is immediately deleted as contrary to any number of Wikipedia policies. Sorry, can't sign this as my tilda button seems to be broken. Lao Wai.

Well, the url was for a fringe website, but the material was from an article in the Wall Street Journal, a mainstream newspaper. Even so, that is not an adequate source for the statements that appeared in the article, so I have removed them. Looie496 (talk) 22:00, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

This article has a Popular culture section that makes the article hard to maintain, because it constantly accumulates cruft. I am inclined to remove the whole section and simply give a "See Also" to Mind control in popular culture. Any thoughts? Looie496 (talk) 18:24, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Excellent idea. It looks like the current section has no secondary sources asserting some significance about the work mentioned, and that is another reason the section is dubious as encyclopedic content to assist this article. Johnuniq (talk) 00:47, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Agree, I know of one published peer reviewed secondary source to discuss it in detail and know one forthcoming source which discusses it as well The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 01:37, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


I've removed it -- we'll see if the removal sticks. Looie496 (talk) 17:30, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

"The ethics of mind control is studied in Neuroethics".[edit]

I did not understand this revert. Neil Levy is one of the world's leading experts on the ethics of mind control, and Amazon's book reviews are reliable as to the content of the book they review. Even if the latter was incorrect, the former would be a reliable source for including "The ethics of mind control is studied in Neuroethics". The ethics of mind control is central to a mind control article. PPdd (talk) 21:24, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't the one who reverted it, but I think the statement is a little too simplistic. Mind control is certainly one of the topics comprised in neuroethics, but there are plenty of philosophers who have discussed mind control who would not call themselves neuroethicists. Also, please don't use references to include arguments for the validity of a statement -- just give the source, and if an argument needs to be made, use the talk page for it. Otherwise the References get cluttered with a lot of material that is not really useful to readers. Looie496 (talk) 21:46, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Simply put I read into the sources that asserted mind control is studied by Neuroethicists and found nothing that convinced me it is. Book Jacket review is not a WP:RS and did not discuss mind control even indirectly. The second source engaged in hypothetical discussion of what if mind control occurred by using neural implants. This did not back up the claim made in the article. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:33, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Craig Lesser and Adi Da Cult brainwashing methods[edit]

Does anyone here have expertise on Louis Lesser's son, Craig Lesser, and techniques he used in the brainwashing by the Adi Da cult? PPdd (talk) 21:26, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Questions like this and the one below really belong on the Reference desks (e.g., WP:RD/H), not on article talk pages, which are strictly for the purpose of discussing ways to improve the articles they belong to. Looie496 (talk) 21:52, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Brave New World Revisited Revisited[edit]

Does anyone know what literature Aldous Huxley used in writing about brainwashing in Brave New World Revisited, used in his conversations with Humphrey Osmond on brainwashing, or what he was reading on brainwashing just before his death in 1964? PPdd (talk) 21:29, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Lifton's book probably. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:35, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. It was not in Laura Huxley's library when she died, but it may have burned down with all of Darwin's sent to T.H. Huxley in the 1963 Griffith Park fire that wiped out everything from the [[Huxley Family] that pre-existed the fire. (That red link indicates I need to write another chaparral article on that particular fire.) But whether or not he was actually reading it at that time, thanks. From the referred Wikipedia article (I will get and read the book itself) it sounds like Pier Paolo Pasolini was reading it when he made Salo, too. :)

Anyone with more? PPdd (talk) 00:08, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Evolution of this article.[edit]

Last year someone above wrote:

"This particular talk page is NOT getting anywhere and here is why. Most of you are having discussions on various events and experiments and whether or not there is proof or any indication of sources for each theory. If we want to delve into the plethora . . . of theories and events in history, the Mind Control page will be muddy forever. . . . The top of the page needs to clearly define Mind Control with absolutely no anecdotes."

Indeed it is going nowhere, but for a very different reason.

It seems to me that the article does start out with a suitable definition, but there are plenty to consider, wherein the existing definition would be split into three parts:

(1) The meaning of mind control in relation to cults of personality.

(2) The meaning of mind control in relation to prisoner abuse to coerce conformity.

(3) The meaning of mind control in relation to claims of direct manipulation of the brain from a distance (typically proposed to be by electronic means).

Item (1) is probably never going to get into Wikipedia. There is at least one person here who feels compelled to delete the term "mind control cult" from Wikipedia, and I doubt they will be allowing any new references.

It is unrealistic to not show real world examples of the three items above although item (3) is almost certainly unsupported by valid evidence. Item (2) can be supported by historical record of prisoner manipulation going back hundreds of years, at least. Try searching history of tortured conversions and confessions, if you are interested. I decline at this time supply a list of sources because of the likelihood that my comments will be deleted by someone on a mission.

Back to item (1): I cannot appreciate the problem some people have with noting, in this article, that Jim Jones ran a mind control cult. Among the more mild techniques he used was use of confederates to get information from naive potential converts which he could use to his favor when ingratiating himself. Jim Jones’ organization was a classic example of a mind-control cult.

Jim Jones' organization was also a cult of personality, very typical for mind-control schemes: The converts are manipulated to conform to the will and perceptions of a particular person. Here Jim Jones and his closest converts dominated other converts to make them conform to the will and perceptions of Jim Jones, who was presented as the absolute source of all truth and guidance. That is mind control, i.e., he sought not only to control behavior of followers but also their professed beliefs.

It would be beneficial for readers to know how psychologists have studied the topic at hand. Usually in Wikipedia the reader must know quite a bit about a subject and review the claims here to see if they stand on their own merits. No offense, but not everyone here has a working knowledge of the philosophy of science. Some authors here and in general regard science as an unchanging collection of irrefutable facts (which in fact is wrong). Consequently some effort must be made to explain what validity of protocol means, why reproducibility is important, how errors occur, and why peer review can be critical. Psychology is a science, and the article is an issue of psychological science.

For both items (1) and (2):

Here Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments, Solomon Asch's conformity experiments, and of course Philip Zimbardo's Standford Prison Experiment should be cited with some outline of the procedures. Let readers make up their own minds about the validity of protocols and conclusions.

The authors/researchers noted above all followed the paradigm of scientific method and thus the protocols and conclusions drawn are always open to review. That is how progress in science is made. The research and the topic at hand (mind-control) are related to social psychology, cognitive psychology, and experimental psychology from a behaviorist perspective. Hypotheses were formed; experimental protocols were designed; the experiments carried out; summary conclusions were drawn; the data and finally conclusions were published for peer review.

Why would anyone prefer to cite theory alone rather cite than real world examples from which hypotheses were formed? Possibly some readers and authors here do not appreciate experimental psychology.

Cults of personality, sometimes referred to new age self-improvement seminars and transformational schemes, are lucrative businesses. Any who has committed themselves to one of these and has become a convert is going to defend it no matter how irrational. And for gurus and aides to gurus defending their industry and business is a paramount concern. They make their living from naive, gullible people. They will not tolerate critical analysis if they can suppress it.

But clients have died due to becoming involved in such schemes. Today (06.23.2011) the L.A. Times reported, "James Arthur Ray is convicted of negligent homicide in the 2009 incident in Arizona. . . . A jury in Arizona convicted self-help guru Wednesday in the deaths of three clients during a sweat lodge ceremony in 2009 that was intended to help participants overcome adversity to reach their full potential."

Prior to that incident I suspect some people here were loath to mention that similar organizations are always active, and that there have been other deaths. While James Arthur Ray may eventually be profiled in Wikipedia, the industry in general will not be critically reviewed, or if it is, the article will soon be deleted.

As a classic example, it would be problematic to insert without getting deleted a critique noting that Erhard Seminar Training used well known mind-control tactics to break down ego defenses in trainees, to manipulate customers into accepting that Werner Erhard was a perfect and infallible guru, the perfection of wisdom, no matter how irrational and abusive or simply wrong he was. There is an article about Werner Erhard, but it is ambiguous, doing more advertising for Werner Erhard than critique.

Let’s see how long the last paragraph survives in the Wikipedia environment.

For the reasons cited above, the article is a dead end. There is little or no connection to real-world events for which the terms in question (mind control, mind control cult) were coined. There is massive evidence available, but due to competitive deletions and possibly fear of slap suits it seems unlikely to me that this article will be improved.

Araktsu (talk) 08:07, 24 June 2011 (UTC) (talk) 07:58, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

(I have removed some extra line-breaks from this material to make it easier to read.) The main thing I have to say in response to this is that statements in Wikipedia articles should be based on reputable published sources. If it is possible to point to major books or articles in major newspapers or magazines that refer to a cult as exercising mind control, then it is legitimate to point that out in this article. It is not, however, legitimate to decide on one's own that the term applies, without any specific support from published sources. Looie496 (talk) 23:44, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Okay, here are reputable published sources.


Pressman, Steve. “Outrageous Betrayal – The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile.” St. Martin’s Press: 1993. ISBN 0-312-09296-2.

Largely from interviews with former converts to est and former est trainers. See p. 67 ff., Chapter 7: Enlightenment in Two Weeks: “In this training, you’re going to find out you’ve been acting like assholes. – EST TRAINER Stewart Emery”


Tobias, Madeline Landau, Janja Lalich. “Captive Hearts Captive Minds – Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships.” Hunter House: 1994. ISBN 0-89793-144-0.

An excellent resource with many citations from other researchers, accounts of former mind-control cult members from various cults.

See p. 38: “The most concise and useful outline of the conditions necessary to carry out a though-reform program . . .: 1. Controlling an individual’s social and psychological environment, especially the person’s time. 2. Placing an individual in a position of powerlessness with a high-control authoritarian system. 3. Relying usually on a closed system of logic, which permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by executive order. 4. Relying on unsophistication of the person being manipulated [that is, the person is unaware of the process], and he or she is pressed to adapt to the environment in increments that are sufficiently minor so that the person does not notice changes. 5. Eroding the confidence of a person’s perceptions. 6. Manipulating a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences to promote new learning or inhibit undesired previous behavior. Punishments usually are social ones, for example, shunning, social isolation, and humiliation (which are more effective in producing wanted behavior than beatings and death threats, although these do occur.”


The following two experimental social psychologists, Stanley Milgram and Solomon Asch, are cited widely in social psychology texts and even in Wikipedia. Their works were based on original experimental psychology research into obedience and conformity, respectively. As of June 27, 2011 the article does not cite these researchers, an egregious omission. If the authors are not aware of the significance of the author’s work, they do not know enough about social psychology to write the article. Insight is required for the subject at issue, not just the ability to cite random text that may mention the term “mind control”.

Milgram, Stanley (obedience); see more at:

Asch, Solomon (conformity); see more at:

For videos explaining concepts and protocol from Asch and Milgram:


Zimbardo, Philip (obedience, conformity, effect of authoritarian environment)

“Stanford prison experiment” can be found in Wikipedia and numerous other places. (He has also done a lot of other research.) The authors have cited Zimbardo but it appear as if the authors searched for text containing the phrase “mind control” and stumbled upon a quote from Zimbardo. Without summarizing how Zimbardo came to his conclusion and definition, the claim has no support beyond “Zimbardo says…” as far as an uninformed reader would know. Indeed, Zimbardo has evidence, but that is not at all obvious in this article.

An encyclopedia can include as much insight as the authors care to supply. If it only has definitions and random quotes containing a key phrase, it is obvious that insight is in short supply. I am sure the authors may find that to be impossible to believe, thus I will not be editing the article.


Do the authors have a problem calling the organization below a mind control cult? And if so, would they consider it a mind control cult if a reputable published source—according to the author’s standards—stated it is?

Think about it: Does it fit a demonstrated paradigm of mind control or not? Or don’t you feel qualified to make that determination on the information available under any circumstances? Below you can find more than enough to make the determination. There is much more available:

Rolling Stone/February 18, 2010 By Sabrina Rubin Erdely



Advise caution:

Woman dies following orders of cult guru:

And the ministry of propaganda replies:

And the taxpayers of New York unwittingly pay for more of the same applied to their children:


Araktsu (talk) 19:28, 27 June 2011 (UTC) Araktsu (talk) 19:31, 27 June 2011 (UTC) Araktsu (talk) 19:34, 27 June 2011 (UTC) Araktsu (talk) 20:12, 27 June 2011 (UTC)


Simply put, this is way too rhetorical and biased of a definition to be labeled as such. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:16, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Huh? Looie496 (talk) 05:06, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia at its Worst? Is There Bias?[edit]

I hate to say this, since so much effort has gone into this article -- and I've skimmed many of the comments on this page -- but the article isn't really worth that much. Is it an example of "Too many cooks spoiling the broth"? Why do I get the feeling that this piece militantly maintains that there is no such thing as "brain washing/mind control" and the concurrent sense that many of the "cooks" likely come from organizations fairly or unfairly tagged as cults practicing mind control? I'm open to the assertion that there really is no such thing as brain-washing/mind-control, but after reading the article, I think it remains unproven. The two concepts -- brainwashing and mind control -- really should be split. It might help, or maybe not. There seems to be forces working here that I don't sense on other articles, even highly charged ones.Shemp Howard, Jr. (talk) 05:31, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

This article is currently rated "Start" class, meaning that it is not judged by editors to be a very well-developed article. With that said, I don't perceive quite the level of militancy you describe. However this is a topic that from time to time attracts editors with strong points of view -- something that always makes it difficult to reach a delicate balance. Looie496 (talk) 06:44, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Brainwashing and mind control are definately different. I don't know if I can cite this but brain washing (as practiced by Maoists) is not a measure of what you might be able to put into or get out of a mind. It is a measure of what is MISSING from the mind. "washing" is a removal process what remains after the wash is the base state of a human free from pre-defined notions. I suppose one way of achieving this is presenting evidence that is supposed to disprove or undermine the long held beliefs of the brainwashee. And on that note I would point to the long list of articles purportedly claimed to be the made up word pseudoscience as a prime example of brain washing. Brain washing can be used for good, evil, and many other intentions in between. Just because something is labeled pseudoscience does not mean that it has been disproven. In many cases little to no research has been done and the prevailing opinion is nothing more the dry speculative philosophical speculation.Dracoshempemporium (talk) 20:13, 11 October 2014 (UTC)


The article currently gives huge amount of undue weight to the discredited fringe views of Zablocki regarding coercive persuasion/mind control in NRMs. These views have no currency in contemporary Sociology of Religion and are mentioned in recent handbooks (SAGE, Oxford, Blackwell) and mainstream reviews of NRM research only as a curiosity of the 1990s ACM debates. Zablocki and a few of his students are entirely alone in the field with the view that such a thing as mind control exists. They should not be allowed to dominate the representation here with their dated publications. Rather the article should be based on recent secondary and tertary sources, the vast majority of which reject the mind control hypothesis as baseless. Also Zablobki's attempts at smearing his opponents should not be included - particularly not given his own ties to the ACM.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:33, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

As I see it, the article doesn't give undue weight to Zablocki; if anything, it gives undue weight to sociologists of religion, who represent a fringe within sociology and the academy at large. Despite your criticisms, Zablocki is a well-respected scholar; he's the chair of the sociology department at Rutgers, after all. There is broad consensus amongst the academy that Zablocki is, by and large, in the right. What we have here is a genuine difference in opinion as to what represents the consensus within sociology and the academy at large. Zablocki states that sociologists of religion, by and large, receive funding from NRMs; this is a fact, not a smear. Likewise, sociologists of religion often claim the ACM receives funding from its patients, which it does; that's also not a smear. I'm not sure what ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· means by Zablocki's ties to the ACM; if he's suggesting Zablocki gets a monetary kickback, where's the evidence?-Nietzsche123 (talk) 02:46, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
Claiming that an entire academic field dedicated to the study of religious movements is fringe is ludicrous. He is a well respected scholar yes, but his viewpoint on Mind control has no currency. Find some recent mainstream secondary and tertiary sources and see how they treat the topic of mind control if you can show that they are postive towards Zablocki's hypothesis then that is evidence. His own words about how he is positioned counts for nothing. And just for the record you cannot claim that the discvipline of Sociology of religion is Fringe - that is just rejecting the terms of the game and turning black into white - if you try to make such a preposterous argument again this goes straight to rFc.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 10:56, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
Calling sociology of religion a 'fringe' is not ludicrous. Viewed from the perspective of the academy at large, heck, even sociology at large, its work is viewed as deviant from the norm. Richardson and company receive lavish funding from NRMs for legal and public relations services. The handbooks and encyclopedias you suggest do NOT condemn the theory of brainwashing; rather, an article or two written by Richardson and company within the handbooks and encyclopedias condemn(s) the theory. Yes, proponents of the brainwashing theory have a difficult time getting published in sociology of religion journals; but that seems to be merely because Richardson and company are the editors of the journals. Proponents of the theory have no trouble being published in well-respected journals outside sociology of religion. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· also makes it look as though Zablocki is merely an ancient relic, someone whose views are no longer taken seriously; but this is false: he continues to be publishing both books and articles in well-respected journals.
As the article currently stands, it seems biased to the opinions of a group of scholars--sociologists of religion--whose views on brainwashing are deviant from the norm within the academy at large. This article does spend some time on Zablocki's views; but that's, as I see it, a good thing, since his views aren't deviant from the norm. Being that there's a difference in opinion between Richardson and company on the one hand and Zablocki and others on the other, both sides should be heard. And we still haven't discussed how it's at all balanced to "smear" the ACM for receiving funding from its clients and then not "smear" sociologists of religion for receiving funding from NRMs; either both claims should stay, or they both should go. -Nietzsche123 (talk) 12:35, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
Utter nonsense. You need to present some kind of evidence to support statements about how Sociology "[of Religion]" is viewed from the eAcademy at large - and Zablocki is not eligible to count as evidence. Provide sources that the idea of brainwashing is accepted within the academy at large. Handbooks and encyclopedias are edited by the main figures in their fields and contributors are chosen based on how well respected they are your suggestions that the field of Sociology of Religion is a kind of cult run by Richardson is offensive and ignorant, and taken straight out of the ACM playbook. WHen you can't get published in your field then that means that your work is not mainstream, saying that the mainstream has been occupied by the fringe is just nonsense. I am taking this to the notice boards now.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:13, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
Please do take this to the boards. I appreciate your tone, by the way, which connotes a certain level of passion, and perhaps dare I say, a POV conflict. You continue to distort what I say, weakening it, thereby creating straw-men. It's not sociology at large that the academy views as deviant from the norm; that claim would, indeed, be nonsense. It's sociology of religion that's viewed as deviant from the norm. I can definitely provide evidence to this claim. Handbooks and encyclopedias may well be edited by main figures in their disciplines, I grant that; but to say that the views of an article or two within a handbook or encyclopedia represents the entire view of that handbook or encyclopedia is unjustified: at the face of it, it's just the view of an article or two, again written by Richardson and company. I NEVER called sociology of religion a 'cult'; I merely stated facts about the collection of scholars, such as the fact that they receive funding from NRMs for legal and public relations services. I'm not sure what you mean by 'ACM playbook'; care to elucidate on that personal attack? Other things equal, not being published in your discipline's primary journals is a red flag; but other things are not equal: the primary journals within sociology of religion are edited by Richardson and company, who don't publish any articles in favor of the brainwashing theory. Moreover, proponents of brainwashing are well-published in well-respected journals; it's just that these journals are outside the sociology of religion. -Nietzsche123 (talk) 13:29, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I've taken it to Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard. Yes there is a POV conflict here - yours against mine. That is why we need more input. If you are trying to suggest that I have a conflict of interest, then please substantiate that accusation. I did not mean to distort your word I was just typing fast and didn't add "of Religion" - I have done so now. Sociology of Religion is not seen as deviant from the norm and you have not substantiated that ridiculous claim. Please substantiate your claim that Mind control theory is considered mainstream outside of Sociology of Religion, and again Zablocki's own word does not count. Show me some mainstream sources saying so. And yes it is a smear to say 1. that Richardson and the 20 plus other mainstream scholars who have debunker Mind Control are somehow all "corrupt" (as far as I know there are 2 cases in which SoR scholars have been funded by the movements they study). In fact it is an unsubstantiated and conspiracy theory like claim to suggest that they form a "collection" since they don't work at the same institutions, or otherwise associate, they simply represent the mainstream of the discipline. BEgin to provide sources for your claims or the discussion is moot.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:56, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
User talk:Nietzsche123, you stated above that, "Proponents of the theory have no trouble being published in well-respected journals outside sociology of religion." I am interested in seeing some citations to these articles that were published in order to validate your claim. Or is Zablocki the only researcher who has published outside of Sociology of Religion journals? I would hope this matter is resolved soon. At the very least, it should be framed so that its a debated and controversial theory where experts are at odds with each other. Lehel Kovach (talk) 18:36, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sociology of religion isn't fringe. One academic claiming the opposite would in fact represent the fringe viewpoint. IRWolfie- (talk) 00:47, 6 October 2012 (UTC)


Okay, so I see that there is dispute as to whether "mind control" exists. But, I'm wondering if it is because the term itself is ambiguous as previously mentioned above. With that said, I came to this page to do research on a group i consider a "cult" and after reading about cults, I saw that 'brainwashing' and 'mind-control' were flagged as having neutrality disputed, which led me here. Now I read that ·ʍaunus makes the claim that the field of Sociology of Religion rejects the theory.

Yet, personally, I have witnessed a phenomenon within members of a group I was exposed to exhibiting having a leader that did their thinking for them, where their ability to judge right from wrong was deferred to what their leader dictated, being isolated from others through persuasion of the leader, indoctrination to the norms of the group, persuasion tactics of instilling fear of being rejected and abandoned by the group that has given them a sense of identity and belonging, and justifications of being financially and sometimes sexually exploited by the leader. I am witnessing a phenomenon--and while many people I know who have seen these people go to places and try to recruit others, behaving in very odd, mechanical ways, have labelled these people as 'brainwashed,' I come to this page and get more confused in that there is a debate that 'brainwashing/mind-control' doesn't exist. Then how would I term the phenomenon I am seeing? "Mind control" is definitely a misleading term. But, as it has been pointed out, persuasion and manipulation has been researched already by the noted social psychologists above. If this page doesn't explore the phenomenon I'm talking about, where in Wikipedia should I go for further research? It seems evident to me that indoctrination to conform one's behaviors, judgement and decision-making abilities so that another person can profit from that conformed/obedient individual is something real, even if it shouldn't be termed "mind control." Lehel Kovach (talk) 19:07, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

These articles may give you some insights into what you're researching.
New Religious Movement
Anti-cult movement
I am not an expert on the topic. Hopefully, others will add to the list.Dulcimermusic 16:36, 14 January 2013 (UTC)JDefauw

mind control in personal relationships missing[edit]

for example: --Penbat (talk) 07:19, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

A source you might like to know about is:

  • Sargant, William 1957. Battle for the mind: a physiology of brain-washing. London: Heinemann.

Sargant was director of the department of psychological medicine at St Thomas' Hospital, London, from 1948–1972, The book includes discussion of methods of religious conversion, brain-washing in religion and politics, brainwashing in ancient times (this chapter by Robert Graves) and the eliciting of confessions. Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:40, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Charles Fort's use of the term[edit]

I believe that before brainwashing, the term had a different meaning, one which many schizophrenics are familiar with. Charles Fort wrote a book, called X, about aliens mind controlling humanity thru the use of super advanced technology. This technology was able to literally control our minds, to make us think certain thoughts, have certain feelings and attitudes, behave in a certain way, and all this without our noticing its existence or influence upon us:

"If, in acting upon us, X could only make use of what we should naturally do anyway—we should, if stimulated to action by X, think that we were but following what we call our own free wills.

"Then, in the search for X, we should look not for strange, seemingly supernatural phenomena, but for things that we should have done anyway, but in a lesser degree, historical events which have heretofore been accounted for by reason, but have in them somewhere a vague mystery or an atmosphere of the unaccountable, despite all the assurances of their own infallibility that our historians have given us.

"I shall try to show that X exists; that this influence is, and must be, evil to an appalling degree to us at present, evil which at least equals anything ever conceived of in medieval demonology."

(Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented The Supernatural, 2008, p. 137-138)

Shouldn't the article mention this usage, being that it is a very important symptom of schizophrenia, and the concept has been used by notable figures like Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft much before the concept of mere brainwashing became popular? I propose a different article for brainwashing (titled brainwashing), and a different for literal mind control (titled mind control). Firrtree (talk) 07:17, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Brainwashing should be in a separate article[edit]

Brainwashing is a sufficiently important topic, first through Hunter's brainwashing theory, (CIA theory of explaining communist indoctrination practices) and then through to Abgrall's appropriation of the theory applied to sect/cult groups, after which Margaret Singer of the American Family Foundation (International Cultic Studies Association) continued to promote and popularize the theory in Psychology circles and in the mass-media, continued today by Michael Langone and others to justify why members of 'cult groups' are indoctrinated and remain in these groups.

Any thoughts? Zambelo (talk) 04:33, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

While I agree that brainwashing is a sufficiently important topic, I'm not sure that it can be distinguished from mind control. In your mind, what is the difference between the two? -Nietzsche123 (talk) 16:50, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

I guess the distinction isn't very apparent - yet the terms are often found side bay side as "mind control and brainwashing" or "mind control or brainwashing" suggesting that they carry two different meanings. The original theory by Edward Hunter makes no mention of "mind controll"and neither do two early writers Robert Jay Lifton's (Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism) and Edgar Schein (Coercive Persuasion) in their books. The term mind control seems to pre-date Hunter's theories, by at least 10 years.

This is of course all primary research, but it is evident that the two concepts sprung up independently of each other, and refer to different things - it is only with the anti-cult and counter cult movements that the two concepts became inter-changeable. Zambelo (talk) 00:04, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I think it's fine to use primary research on a talk page, no? I think that academics today often use the terms 'brainwashing', 'mind control', 'thought reform', and to a lesser extent: 'coercive persuasion', interchangeably. So I'm not sure if it's fruitful to distinguish between these on WP. -Nietzsche123 (talk) 23:57, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't see that coercive persuasion (i.e., pointing a gun at somebody) is the same as the other things, but other than that, maybe so. Looie496 (talk) 01:09, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I think the differences are subtle, but do exist - if you look through Category:Mind_control|the Mind control category there is a huge variety of topics which are not the same as brainwashing as used by Edward Hunter or Lifton and Schein. The first paragraph of this article is the definition by Michael Langone, a cult researcher and anti-cult activist who is using his own definition based on the works of Margaret Singer and Jean-Marie Abgrall, both of who based their definitions on the Brainwashing theory by Edward Hunter. If not a new article, we should change things around so that the hierarchy and chronology is acknowledged. Zambelo (talk) 03:09, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm not so sure that Langone's theory of brainwashing isn't best understood as trying to describe the same type of phenomenon as Lifton's, Ofshe's, Schein's, et al's. I know that Zablocki and Kent contend that their theories of brainwashing attempt to define the same type of phenomenon that Lifton et al were trying to define. I also know that Lifton and Ofshe contend that destructive cults, like Scientology, brainwash their members; that is, Lifton and Ofshe agree that their theories may be applied to the same type of phenomena that Zablocki et al think it can. -Nietzsche123 (talk) 19:53, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure you're right, however mind control seems to be a blanket term which envelops a number of sub-theories such as coercive persuasion, or hypnosis, or even propaganda. I see brainwashing as a theory falling under mind control, so using mind control is kind of an over-simplification, IMO. Zambelo (talk) 22:19, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Zambelo, I didn't think of that. Now that I do, it does seem to me that brainwashing is just a particular type of mind control. As you point out, coercive persuasion, hypnosis, propaganda, etc, seem to be commonly thought of as mind control; yet not many scholars would think that brainwashing is simply hypnosis or propaganda. -Nietzsche123 (talk) 16:46, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

brainwashing and terror--should we revise the whole first section?[edit]

An editor added in good faith a passage quoting Dr. Herman J. Sander, apparently the Director of the Maxwell Field Research Unit of the Air Force Personnel and Training Research Center sometime in the mid-1950's. Dr. Sanders name was red linked, but thus far he has no stand alone bio on Wikipedia for lack of apparent notability. That is, there is no indication he was a person of historic significance or widely quoted, in the 1950's or later. Assuming he does not meet Wikipedia's notability standards, that we are simply quoting one guy out of dozens or hundreds interviewed for that report without indicating why that view merits attention--I wonder whether the quote adds something or serves a purpose not already served by existing text?ElijahBosley (talk ☞) 20:34, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Actually (responding to myself) now reading the whole page I see the Korean War brainwashing section has been considerably expanded. So the Army report is now out of chronological order. And it is questionable whether it deserves its own separate section. I wonder whether we might break the Korean War section into subsections? That is, first a section on where the brainwashing idea originated, apparently in Chinese terminology and then American propaganda (taken up by those who did not want to admit US soldiers voluntarily cooperated with the Chinese.) The second section would be on the post war formal studies and the US Army report. From there the article would segue into the more recent mind control or brainwashing issues. I think it would be useful to link, even if this is not the place to dwell upon, the CIA unsuccesful efforts to duplicate brainwashing using LSD in the 1960s. What do you think?ElijahBosley (talk ☞) 21:17, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Hearing no objection, I went ahead and simplified the history and origins section and restructured it to put it in chronological order. I'd like to see more footnotes in the last paragraph in this section but otherwise I think this a considerable improvement, stylistically as well as substantively.ElijahBosley (talk ☞) 15:49, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

CIA brainwashing effort[edit]

An anonymous editor added a separate section on the CIA's MK Ultra project. I moved it down into chronological order. Up to now the CIA program has been buried in the section on whether brainwashing was real or merely CIA propaganda. It seems a good idea to give it added prominence. Though since MKULtra already has its own webpage might it be better simply to refer to that webpage? In any event much more work needs to be done on this section. I will do a little work to integrate it with existing text and citations better. I would welcome suggestions.ElijahBosley (talk ☞) 17:18, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Footnotes supporting argument infra. (they probably don't belong here on a talk page, but I don't want to delete them until I know what they are for)[edit]

Needs mentions of other methods of mind control[edit]

This article seems to basically cover brainwashing and not mind control. It also reads more like a "history of" type article. I think it needs a few sections on perhaps "types of brainwashing" and "types of mind control", covering subjects (whether real, fictional, or theoretical) such as hypnosis, electronic/mechanical mind control, and different forms of brainwashing. (talk) 07:11, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ BSERP final report (May 11, 1987), CESNUR website containing Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility report to the DIMPAC Task Force retrieved June 14, 2006
  2. ^ Margaret Singer, Mother of Anti-Cult Brainwashing Theory, Dies in Berkeley [3]
  3. ^ Hassan, Steven Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves (Danbury, Connecticut: Aitan Publishing, 2000) ISBN 0-9670688-0-0
  4. ^ Hua, Vanessa,"Critics and followers of Falun Gong: Adherents find fulfillment, but detractors call movement a cult" in San Francisco Chronicle (December 18, 2005), retrieved June 14, 2006
  5. ^ Hassan, Steve Freedom of Mind Resource Center retrieved June 14, 2006
  6. ^ Anthony, Dick & Robbins, Thomas: Conversion and "Brainwashing" in New Religious Movements
  7. ^ Derocher, Lorraine: Le "sectisme", une nouvelle forme de racisme?
  8. ^ Social Justice Research (Dec1999, Vol. 12, Issue 4)