Recommended

Brainwashing: The Science Of Thought Control Kathleen Taylor

This book by Neuroscientist and Physiologist Kathleen Taylor is a fascinating look into the the history, methodology and neurobiology of brainwashing, or rather the various components of what we might call brainwashing.

The book begins with a very interesting account of where the term brainwashing comes from and how through the ages humans have always tried to influence other humans, for better or worse. From torture in the Korean war to a shampoo commercial, this book shows how in all aspects of life we are constantly being exposed to attempts to influence our minds; to change our minds. It shows how our mind is a malleable putty and not a rigid diamond and how this is both a very good thing but can also be taken advantage of.

This book concentrates on what it calls “influence techniques” and how and why they work from the point of view of modern neuroscience. Taylor’s approach is very accessible to the layman whilst still retaining enough of the meat of the science so as not to be over-simplified. Her use of analogy and friendly metaphors guides the reader through the complex structures and processes of the brain, giving the reader a great insight into what exactly is happening when someone is “brainwashed”. Once the reader is equipped with this knowledge Taylor then shows how each type of influence technique utilises these various aspects of the brain.

Ultimately the book’s purpose is to show that brainwashing is not a magical or exotic process; it is not valid to dismiss any unusual change of mind we witness as “must have been brainwashed”. Rather we must recognise that brainwashing is simply extreme forms of the influencing abilities we all possess and all experience every day of our lives.

Supporting the Blog and Podcast

SamHarris.org is supported by the generosity of its readers. If you find my essays, interviews, or podcasts useful, please consider becoming a sponsor of the website. —SH

Monthly Donation

Contributor$7 / month
Member$15 / month
Supporting Member$25 / month
Sustaining Member$45 / month
Patron$95 / month


One-Time Donation

You can also become a contributor by making a one-time donation in any amount.

Get Sam's Newsletter

Joining our email list is the best way to hear about Sam's upcoming books, articles, podcasts, and public talks.