Read our six-part story centred on brainwashing and mind control, exploring how these ideas influenced and were shaped by the ‘psy’ professions.
The Hidden Persuaders
In the aftermath of World War II, psychoanalysts found the psychological roots of authoritarianism closer to home than was comfortable.
To be psychologically fit for democracy, one distinguished paediatrician argued that you need a ‘good enough mother’ – and that we must acknowledge the bad side of our feelings.
In the 1950s, many psychiatrists thought that homosexuality could be reformed. One found that it couldn’t – and his discoveries led to a change in the law.
Military-funded researchers wanted to know if isolation techniques could facilitate brainwashing. One neuroscientist suggested that it might improve our own control over our minds.
It’s not unusual for captives to end up feeling strong bonds with their captors. But is it a matter of submission or survival?