Brainwashing — Can It Happen To You?

Neuroscientists believe some people can be more easily brainwashed than others, but under the right conditions it is possible for anyone to become brainwashed. Those most susceptible are are insecure or guilt-ridden, or have a low self-esteem. People who have a healthy outlook about themselves are much harder to brainwash. Research also has shown that those who have a strong religious background are harder to manipulate than those who are uncertain about how they feel about God or a higher power — that is why people can be steered into a cult, they are looking for answers and are uncertain about their spiritual self.

Brainwashing involves changing the way the brain connects through a process that starves the brain from the nutrients it needs in order to function — nutrition and sleep. It is the process of breaking down a person’s natural defenses. The conditions needed to forcefully and invasive change a person’s thoughts and beliefs against their will must be extreme.

From all the research gathered, mind control or brainwashing can only happen under the right conditions. The greatest time for someone to take advantage of your vulnerability is when you go off to college (away from home and questioning everything); when a loved one has died; when a disaster has just occurred (earthquake, tsunami, tidal wave or fire); when a relationship has been lost; when you are going through a crisis of faith; when you are feeling lonely and unloved; or due to mental illness.

A brainwasher will first isolate their subject from friends and support systems. The subject must become totally dependent on their captor’s (brainwasher) for all their basic human needs. They are not allowed to get much sleep; are kept malnourished by giving them little food with nutritional value; often they are refused the chance to go to the bathroom. Their entire identity is broken down and destroyed, and their mind (being starved for what it needs) becomes confused and easy to manipulate.

After they have succeeded in getting the subject disoriented they begin to rebuild them and mold their thinking into the way the brainwasher wants them to think by giving them a new identity, new support system, and convincing them there is nobody else who can love them or care for them as much as their captor (brainwasher).

Dur ­ing the Korean War, American POWs were reportedly brainwashed by their Korean and Chinese captors. Under the conditions they had to endure, including physical torture, several prisoners gave in and confessed to waging germ warfare, even though they hadn’t. They then pledged allegiance to the communism. At the end of the war, at least 21 POWs refused to return to the United States when they were freed.

Many psychologists say the conversion of the Americans was the result of simple torture, and not brainwashing because such a small percentage (21 out of more than 20,000 prisoners) was affected. This brought about the question: “How reliable is brainwashing?”

­Is brainwashing a system that produces similar results across cultures and personality types, or does it hinge primarily on the target’s susceptibility to influence? An essential component of mind control is that it involves controlling another person, not just putting them out of control or doing things to them over which they have no control. The people most susceptible to any kind of mind control or brainwashing are those who are already in a vulnerable state, are either questioning their beliefs and identity or have been broken down mentally and spiritually by abuse and are seeking a way to escape to a better life.

Many experts believe that any form of brainwashing is temporary, and once the subject is allowed to return to a normal sleep and eating pattern, and get back into their normal environment, their true self will emerge from “hiding” and come back.

We all are weak at some time in our lives, therefore it could be possible to someone to take advantage of that time to try to manipulate your thinking, but it is highly unlikely.

From the Desk of Ron White

Memory Training


The Skeptic’s Dictionary — Mind Control (brainwashing) :

How Stuff Works — How Brainwashing Works:

Discovery video: Why do some people make better brainwashing targets than others? <iframe id=”dit-video-embed” width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” allowtransparency=”true”></iframe>

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