If a toy manufacturer that existed three decades ago is
In the future, nanobot brain implants might be able to make us happy at the push of a button. But are we already brainwashed? The term comes from the Chinese xǐ nǎo “to wash the brain” – a technique used to change prisoner’s beliefs and behavior. But how does this impact you?
1. The Hidden Persuaders
In the 1950s Vance Packard published The Hidden Persuaders, outlining key psychological techniques used in advertising. He identified eight compelling needs which are shared by all human beings. He claimed that if you offered, or threatened to remove one of these eight needs, you had the power to sell literally anything! The eight needs are:
1. Emotional security
3. Ego gratification
4. Creative outlets
5. Objects to love
Today some companies even use neuromarketing such as MRI scans to find out which car design most excites their target customers. So how did this all begin?
#2 Pavlov’s Dog
In the 1890’s physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered that he could reprogram or ‘condition’ dog’s behavior. He rang a bell before feeding a dog. Soon the dog salivated anytime it heard the bell. He noted that this conditioning sank in much deeper and was much harder to remove when it took place under stress.
#3 Battle For The Mind
Dr. William Sargent saw that the human brain operated in the same way. He saw religious conversions as a form of conditioning – building stress with threats of hellfire and implanting ideas of heaven. He claimed that Hitler often gave long speeches at night as he knew that this meant he could plant his ideas far deeper into people’s minds, as at night people are tired and have far less resistance.
#4 Patty Hearst
Hearst was the heiress to the Hearst fortune when she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1975. She helped them to rob a bank, but claimed that she had been brainwashed into doing it. The case became a celebrity sensation. William Sargant interviewed her and concluded she had been brainwashed under mental stress. However the jury disagreed and ruled that she had done it with free will, as a result she served 21 months in prison.