Ever since American prisoners of war in Korea suddenly switched sides to the Communist cause, the concept of brainwashing has continued to fascinate and confuse. Is it really possible to force any thinking person to act in a way completely alien to his character? What makes so-called brainwashing so different from the equally insidious effects of indoctrination and conditioning, or even advertising and education? Research findings from psychology show that brainwashing is not a special subversive technique; it is the clever manipulation of unrealized influences that operate in all our lives. This book, by breaking down so-called brainwashing to its individual elements, shows how social conditioning, need for approval, emotional dependency and much else that we are unaware of, prevent us from being as self-directed as we think; and, conversely, which human traits make us the least susceptible to subtle influence.
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