Brainwashing: The science of thought control Hardcover – 25 Nov 2004
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Quite a fascinating book whose content tends to linger long after you have put it down. Definitely a must-read for those in the social psychology field and all other psychologists interested in this area. (Doody's Journal)
About the Author
Kathleen Taylor is a research scientist in the physiology department, Oxford University. In 2003 she won first prize in both the THES/OUP Science Essay competition and the THES Humanities and Social Sciences Writing Prize.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kathleen Taylor does a very good job of defining her subject. It's certainly not necessary to have a degree in psychology to understand or appreciate the book although some sections do get fairly technical because there's just no simple way to get the complex ideas across.
Taylor does a great job of highlighting the alarming number of ways in which people seem to be open to brainwashing through various case studies ranging from American personnel captured in Korea to the Manson family and the atrocities they committed.
The book is such a great read because it deals with something that we've probably all been subjected to at some point - hopefully not full blown brainwashing but `influence attempts.' You can't avoid them and this book will hopefully educate you so you are more aware of insidious attempts to control your behaviour. This all sounds very alarmist but one of the main themes of the book is to make us more aware of these attempts so we don't fall for them without questioning. Fortunately for most of us reading in the western world most influence attempts are contained in adverts but obviously politics plays a large role in our lives and the book highlights ways in which political parties attempt to manipulate the populace.
Taylor takes us through the mechanics of the attempts, showing how the people making the attempts at control can subvert our defences and begin to exert more control over us than they really should and she also goes on to explain how, from a psychological viewpoint these attempts achieve success. Very interesting stuff and also very sobering.Read more ›
In an attempt to explain the formation, development and cohesion of cult groups, and in particular their members willingness to perform anti-social and illegal acts, Taylor reviews a number of putative mechanisms underlying such conformative behavior, much of which will be familiar territory to both social and cognitive psychologists. But more importantly, the better value of this book may be revealed in its attempts to discuss the underlying neural mechanisms that are involved in the "business of changing people's minds".Read more ›
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The thrust of the author's argument is that the stereotypical notion of brainwashing as thought of by most people who use the term is fundamentally flawed. Specifically, we go looking for zombies and "Yes Master" style Hollywood stories, when in fact such notions belong firmly to the world of fiction rather than fact. This is not surprising when you think about it rationally for a few minutes. Instead, the author explores the much deeper areas behind the notion of brainwashing, and in doing so expands into areas that the reader probably hasn't considered before.
The book is split into three themes of sorts. First, a casual look at the historical uses of brainwashing is covered. The author is keen to point out that the word and concept of what we think of as brainwashing is a relatively new concept, yet the purpose behind (to convert a person from one belief system to another) is far from new at all. Torture has been used throughout the ages to attempt to force people to accept new truths, and as you read on you see how relatively haphazard the results have been.
Secondly, the author delves into the relatively advanced world of neuroscience. Taking an extremely objective and biological consideration of the brain as a reductionist computer, we look at how the brain itself is wired and works. This may seem an overtly complex tangent initially, but is key to the author's argument that simplistic notions of mind-control are pipe dreams.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If the medical services operate on you or get your empathy whilst drugged, you will be a carrier. you would not know. And most of the population will not know. Read morePublished 5 months ago by public name
Good but skips altogether, mind control, al la CIA, which is experienced by millions of targeted individuals worldwide.Published 13 months ago by John
This book takes a comprehensive look at brainwashing. It looks at the origin, the methods, the ideas, the social and political implications, the neuroscience behind it, as well as... Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 2014 by R. A. Harris
Bought for husband again for fathers Day, it was already on his wish list so i have no idea if the book is good or not.Published on 23 Aug. 2013 by Karen Jewell
I chose this book as part of a research project. It is an easy read however that does not diminish the excellent content. Read morePublished on 30 May 2013 by Keith Hopper
Given this a four star, because it was a very thought provoking book, delivered in a style understandable to a layman. Read morePublished on 27 Jan. 2013 by Book reader
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