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Thought Reform / Experimental Timeline Project: Brainwashing
« on: October 29, 2011, 11:34:22 PM »
Experimental Timeline Project: Brainwashing

I had the idea to enlist the help of Fornits to help in attempting to formulate a timeline of important historical people and events that pertain to brainwashing, thought reform, coercive persuasion, mind control and other elements thereof that may help to put chronological perspective on the subject.  In this first phase of development any pertinent subject matter can be submitted from any time period. Eventually, hopefully, the blanks can be filled in, and the timeline can be under continuous revision. Perhaps when the list has been refined to a point, it can be re-posted as a complete project.  

I am not sure how successfully this will turn out, but I have found mind control etc. to be a complicated subject, and with a lot of history to discuss. It is hard to categorize it, and there are many overlapping events and influences. I am hoping this will help overcome those problems. One thing I request is that the presented subject matter be offered in a brief form, like a summary or abstract, with links to facts. If you post subject matter that requires further details, discussion, or controversy, please post them in a separate topic with a link.

So without further adieu,

Feed Your Head / Mentally stimulating Documentaries. preferably free.
« on: October 09, 2011, 11:38:11 PM »
mentally stimulating Documentaries FREE!................ preferably.


I was going to post this documentary, “The Corporation”,  here but was thinking peoples might have some interesting contributions to a ‘Documentaries’ thread (hopefully accessible on youtube or Netflix but….)  post your interesting documentary films.

I am starting with one I think is very interesting and enlightening, “The Corporation”.  I watched this film and it was informative as to the inception and development of corporations, and had some really thought provoking viewpoints, and some heavy points of contention that had me thinking about the societal effects, some of which can be translated well into the Fornits arena. Personally, I thought the topic of “externalities” was a perfect word to describe survivors of programs, unaccounted for byproducts of industry essentially. Nice piece o work.

Here is the youtube link.  THE CORPORATION –  

Add your informative film/documentary to this list.

Thought Reform / Paul Morantz: The Center for Feeling Therapy
« on: August 28, 2011, 12:07:58 AM »
I think someone who deserves an honorable mention here is none other than cult exterminator extraordinaire, vanquisher of Synanon, Paul Morantz. Paul Morantz is a lawyer who has handled some high profile cult cases, notably successfully suing Synanon.

Although on Paul’s website he helpfully suggest reading through the material in a certain chronological order, ... t-section/    I am skipping ahead to his great story about the Center for Feeling Therapy, “what the L.A. Times called “the longest, costliest, and most complex psychotherapy malpractice case in California history.” Great read, as relevant as his work on Synanon. Here it is



Thought Reform / Huxley v Orwell:Infinite Distraction or Gov. Oppression
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:40:03 AM »
A comic strip depicting the differences between orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.

Huxley Vs. Orwell: Infinite Distraction Or Government Oppression? ... ppression/

Thought Reform / Carl Rogers and the CIA
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:15:56 AM »
I Found a link to the article, “Carl Rogers and the CIA”,  originally from the journal of humanistic psychiatry.  This is not only telling as it concerns Rogers, but also the others working with The Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology (later called The Human Ecology Fund) which was one of the main CIA front groups along with the Josiah Macy Foundation used to funnel money through for mk-ultra research.  This is pretty interesting perspective on this history considering the source.

CARL ROGERS AND THE CIA ... s-cia.html


Carl Rogers was a pioneer and leader in the humanistic psychol- ogy movement. Although his many professional activities and accomplishments are well known, the story of his association with the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology—a front orga- nization for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—is barely known and has never been explored in any depth. This article attempts to tell that story in the context of America during the 1950s, Rogers’s academic career, and the mission of the CIA.

Thought Reform / the DISSOCIATION issue
« on: January 29, 2011, 06:56:35 PM »

I thought that one of the most important topics to discuss for program survivors is the topic of Dissociation, as it is a subject of focus for anyone who has endured a traumatic experience. However I think it is a particularly important subject as it relates to troubled teen programs, and there are many issues of which Dissociation is at heart of the matter. There are a few questions/ issues that I find come to attention:

1.   Dissociation has been an explanation for mental illness and for the hypnotic state that pre-dates Psychoanalysis, yet only recently has received general acceptance.

2.   Dissociation is the influential precursor to Freud’s Psychoanalysis, with remarkable impact such as on Freud’s theory of the unconscious/ conscious mind, yet Psychoanalysis had initially rejected the concept of Dissociation. However it survived in less dominant fields.

3.    Dissociative reactions, such as PTSD, or even Dissociative Identity Disorder, that can result from extreme situations faced in troubled teen programs, and possible unevaluated or misinterpreted symptoms.

4.   The creation of Dissociation as an intended therapeutic aim in considering certain program histories and influences, and the implications of ‘dissociation/ re-association’ approaches  in forced therapy concerning identity and personality formation, particularly in adolescents.

So I think it is an issue with several controversies, and I also think it is a pretty interesting subject. I am also curious if others will identify with dissociation as an experience and/ or possible intention of their program. For now I’m going to quote some articles that hit upon some broader points in this regard in order to get more specific.

“The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
VOLUME 8. NUMBER 3 ISSN 10.50-1835 S1MMER 1997

Charles R Marmar, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry,
University of California, San Francisco and
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical
Center, San Francisco

The past decade has witnessed an intense reawakening of interest in the study of trauma and dissociation. In particular, the contributions of Janet, which had been largely eclipsed by developments within modern ego psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, have enjoyed a resurgence of interest. Putnam (1989) and van der Kolk and van der Hart (1989) have provided a contemporary reinterpretation of the contributions of Janet to the understanding of traumatic stress and dissociation. Recent research on the interrelations among trauma, memory, and dissociation is presented in a forthcoming book by Bremner and Marmar.

Paralleling the resurgence of interest in theoretical studies of trauma and dissociation, there has been a proliferation of research studies addressing the relationship of trauma and general dissociative tendencies. Chu and Dill (1990) reported that psychiatric patients with a history of childhood abuse reported higher levels of dissociative symptoms than those without histories of child abuse. Carlson and Rosser-Hogan (1991), in a study of Cambodian refugees, reported a strong relationship between the amounts of trauma the refugees had experienced and the severity of both traumatic stress response and dissociative reactions. Spiegel and colleagues (1988) compared the hypnotizability of Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD to patients with generalized anxiety disorders, affective disorders, and schizophrenia, as well as to the normal comparison group. The group with PTSD was found to have hypnotizability scores that were higher than both the psychopathological and normal controls.

Recent empirical studies have supported a strong relationship among trauma, dissociation, and personality disturbances. Herman and colleagues (1989) found a high prevalence of traumatic histories in patients with borderline personality disorder. A profound relationship has been reported for childhood trauma and multiple personality disorder (MPD). Kluft (1993) proposes that the dissociative processes that underlie multiple personality development continue to serve a defense function for individuals who have neither the external nor internal resources to cope with traumatic experiences. Coons and Milstein (1986) reported that 85% of a series of 20 MPD patients had documented allegations of childhood abuse.

Similar observations have been made by and Putnam and colleagues (1986), who reported rates of severe childhood abuse as high as 90% in patients with MPD. The nature of the childhood trauma in many of these cases is notable for its severity, multiple elements of physical and sexual abuse, threats to life, bizarre elements, and profound rupture of the sense of safety and trust when the perpetrator is a primary caretaker or other close relationship.

Peritraumatic Dissociation. The studies reviewed dearly demonstrate the relationship between traumatic life experience and general dissociative response. One fundamental aspect of the dissociative response to trauma concerns immediate dissociation at the time the traumatic event is unfolding. Trauma victims not uncommonly will report alterations in the experience of time, place, and person, which confers a sense of unreality of the event as it is occurring. Dissociation during trauma may take the form of altered time sense, with time being experienced as slowing down or rapidly accelerated; profound feelings of unreality that the event is occurring, or that the individual is the victim of the event; experiences of depersonalization; out-of-body experiences; bewilderment, confusion, and disorientation; altered pain perception; altered body image or feelings of disconnection from one's body; tunnel vision; and other experiences reflecting immediate dissociative responses to trauma. We have designated these acute dissociative responses to trauma as peritraumatic dissociation.

Although actual clinical reports of peritraumatic dissociation date back nearly a century, systematic investigation has occurred more recently.  Wilkinson (1983) investigated the psychological responses of survivors of the Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalk collapse in which 114 people died and 200 were injured. Survivors commonly reported depersonalization and derealization experiences at the time of the structural collapse. Holen (1993), in a long-term prospective study of survivors of a North Sea oil rig disaster, found that the level of reported dissociation during the trauma was a predictor  of subsequent PTSD. Koopman and colleagues (1994) investigated predictors of posttraumatic stress symptoms among survivors of the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm. In a study of 187 participants, dissociative symptoms at the time the firestorm was occurring more strongly predicted subsequent posttraumatic symptoms than did anxiety and the subjective experience of loss of personal autonomy.” - ... iation.pdf

Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

The unconscious is like a great holding area or reservoir of unprocessed events. Anything we don't or can't assimilate consciously goes there. The unconscious holds irrelevant things such as images of strangers we see on the street. It also holds important things that need to be brought into conscious awareness but may be too big to fit our existing system (conscious mind). There are times when people are unable to fully assimilate the significance of an overwhelming experience such as a car accident. One of the passengers calmly calls an ambulance, administers first aid, and reroutes oncoming traffic. Once the ambulance arrives, she falls apart and cries hysterically. In order to take care of the immediate priorities, she dissociated her feelings and emotions temporarily….

Children rely extensively on adults for interpretation. Their developing comprehension is largely fashioned after that of their parents or caregivers. If caregivers are emotionally damaged, their own skewed view of the world is imposed upon their children.

Unresolved issues in the parents' unconscious are misinterpreted for the child. This is a common phenomenon known as projection. For example, if parents feel shame but cannot admit it, they may deny it, separate themselves from it, disown it, dissociate from it, and project it onto their children. They then condemn their children as being shameful. In psychology this is described as retaliatory defense. In other words, the shame the parents have within themselves but cannot accept is expressed by shaming the children. In fact, the less parents are able to accept the "monster" within themselves, the more readily they are able to see it in their children.

Emotionally troubled parents frequently reinforce skewed interpretations with abuse. If the abuse is extreme, as practiced by destructive families, a child's conscious world becomes overwhelmed. The extreme abuse is dissociated into the unconscious, but it cannot be made to fit, even in a misinformed way. The trauma remains dissociated. To survive, children tap into extraordinary coping skills, fashioned from within their own unconscious.

Clinical (Amnestic) Dissociation

Our instinctive reactions to an assault are fight or flight. However, neither works when children are abused by sadistic adults. The only option left is to freeze, and take flight through the mind. A common initial coping mechanism is to escape the body. It is the beginning of clinical (amnestic) dissociation, which allows a shutting out of an unbearable reality. It is held unassimilated---in effect, frozen in time. A dissociated experience can be split up to store the emotions separate from bodily sensations, and the sensations separate from the knowledge of an event. In dissociating an experience, children split off a part of their self to hold the trauma. In some cases the dissociated aspects of self, immediately or over time, form their own and separate sense of self….

Some children maintain a complete split between their everyday life and the abusive episodes. They may be seen smiling when posing for family photographs. Perpetrators often use such photographs to prove there is nothing bad going on….

Clinical Diagnosis

Aftereffects of trauma are still being researched, and diagnostic terminology continues to evolve. Some existing terms are being retired and new terms are being proposed. In keeping with evolving trends and thinking, we will use the term post-traumatic reactions to indicate the overall condition; and the terms post-traumatic fear, dissociative experience, and dissociative identity to indicate the most prevalent reactions. Professionals are recognizing that post-traumatic reactions exist on a continuum, and many survivors use more than one coping strategy to survive. Trying to arrive at an exact diagnosis using existing terminology can be complex. It is sometimes more confusing than helpful to try to find the right "label."

The current list of specific diagnosis includes but is not limited to PTSD, also know as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS); various dissociative disorders, which include Depersonalization Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Amnesia, and Dissociative Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (DD-NOS); Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formally referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD); and catatonia or catalepsy….” -  -

Dissociation - Current List of Specific Diagnosis (2003)
(Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience. The characteristic symptoms involve re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli associated with the event or numbing of general responsiveness and increased arousal. This group of symptoms was initially recognized in conjunction with other types of trauma. Professionals noticed that some survivors of car accidents had reactions similar to those of soldiers returning from combat. In the past this group of symptoms was alternately called shell shock, battle fatigue, or combat neurosis.

With PTSD, aspects of the traumatic event are dissociated, but the event is not forgotten. Treatment usually focuses on processing the unassimilated parts of the trauma by giving expression to it, thereby healing the aftereffects. The trauma may be re-experienced through dreams, behaviors, emotions, and bodily responses. Sometimes the trauma or aspects of it are re-experienced through flashbacks, nightmares, night terrors, and/or startle responses. Although symptoms of PTSD may feel frightening and are a cause of great distress, they are the body/mind's attempt to heal. The trauma is breaking through into conscious awareness, where it can be assimilated and healed. (DSM-IV)

PTSD is characterized by:

-recurrent or intrusive distressing recollections of an event( images, thoughts, perceptions)
-re-experiencing the trauma of the event through dreams or flashbacks
-feelings of emotional numbness and detachment from others
-irritability or exaggerated startle responses, or hyper-vigilance
-sleep difficulties
-anger or anxiety
-difficulty concentrating
-physiological responses to situations or events that symbolize or resemble the original stressful event or situation.

Symptoms of the disorder may occur within hours of the stressful event. Or they may not appear until months or years later” - -

“This is a prepublication version of the version published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2005, 18(5).

-Dissociation: An Insufficiently Recognized Major Feature of Complex PTSD-

Onno van der Hart - Department of Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis Cats-Polm Institute, Zeist and Mental Health Care, Assen, The Netherlands
Kathy Steele -Metropolitan Psychotherapy Associates Atlanta, Georgia


The role of dissociation in (complex) PTSD has been insufficiently recognized for at least two reasons: the view that dissociation is a peripheral, not a central feature of PTSD, and existing confusion regarding the nature of dissociation. This conceptual paper addresses both issues by postulating that traumatization essentially involves some degree of division or dissociation of psychobiological systems that constitute personality. One or more dissociative parts of the personality avoid traumatic memories and perform functions in daily life, while one or more other parts remain fixated in traumatic experiences and defensive actions. Dissociative parts manifest in negative and positive dissociative symptoms that should be distinguished from alterations of consciousness. Complex PTSD involves a more complex structural dissociation than simple PTSD.” [/b]- ... 20ptsd.pdf  -

“Dissociation is a partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s conscious or psychological functioning.[1] Dissociation can be a response to trauma or drugs and perhaps allows the mind to distance itself from experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time…

HistoryThe French philosopher and psychiatrist Pierre Janet (1859–1947) is considered to be the author of the concept of dissociation.[12] Contrary to most current conceptions of dissociation, Janet did not believe that dissociation was a psychological defense.[13][14][15] Psychological defense mechanisms belong to Freud's theory of psychoanalysis, not to Janetian psychology. Janet claimed that dissociation occurred only in persons who had a constitutional weakness of mental functioning that led to hysteria when they were stressed. Although it is true that many of Janet's case histories described traumatic experiences, he never considered dissociation to be a defense against those experiences. Quite the opposite. Janet insisted that dissociation was a mental or cognitive deficit. Accordingly, he considered trauma to be one of many stressors that could worsen the already-impaired "mental efficiency" of a hysteric, thereby generating a cascade of hysterical (in today's language, "dissociative") symptoms.[12][16][17][18] Despite this, clinicians have routinely preferred Freud's motivational explanation of dissociation as a defense against pain or displeasure to Janet's explanation that dissociation is due to constitutionally-impaired mental efficiency. Clinicians' preference for the Freudian explanation is directly reflected in today's most popular understanding of dissociation; namely, that dissociation is a defense against trauma.

Although there was great interest in dissociation during the last two decades of the nineteenth century (especially in France and England), this interest rapidly waned with the coming of the new century (Ellenberger, 1970). Even Janet largely turned his attention to other matters. On the other hand, there was a sharp peak in interest in dissociation in America from 1890 to 1910, especially in Boston as reflected in the work of William James, Boris Sidis, Morton Prince, and William McDougall. Nevertheless, even in America, interest in dissociation rapidly succumbed to the surging academic interest in psychoanalysis and behaviorism. For most of the twentieth century, there was little interest in dissociation. Discussion of dissociation only resumed when Ernest Hilgard (1977) published his neodissociation theory in the 1970s and when several authors wrote about multiple personality in the 1980s.

Carl Jung described pathological manifestations of dissociation as special or extreme cases of the normal operation of the psyche. This structural dissociation, opposing tension, and hierarchy of basic attitudes and functions in normal individual consciousness is the basis of Jung's Psychological Types.[19] He theorized that dissociation is a natural necessity for consciousness to operate in one faculty unhampered by the demands of its opposite.

Attention to dissociation as a clinical feature has been growing in recent years as knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder increased, due to interest in dissociative identity disorder and the multiple personality controversy, and as neuroimaging research and population studies show its relevance.” -  -


Pierre Janet originally developed the idea of dissociation of consciousness from his work with hysterical patients. He believed that hypnosis was an example of dissociation, whereby areas of an individual's behavioural control separate from ordinary awareness. Hypnosis would remove some control from the conscious mind, and the individual would respond with autonomic, reflexive behaviour. Weitzenhoffer describes hypnosis via this theory as "dissociation of awareness from the majority of sensory and even strictly neural events taking place."  -

…. I found the above to be an important wide angle to begin with. I will follow with more specific issues of dissociation and what that could mean in programs…..

Thought Reform / The Macy Conferences:The Minds behind Mind Control
« on: January 06, 2011, 06:20:57 PM »
The Macy Conferences: The Minds behind Mind Control and the birth of Cybernetics

Even before I begin I find I can only hope to impart upon the reader the importance of the Macy Conferences as being perhaps the most important meeting of minds for the purpose of understanding control of human behavior, mind control. The Macy Conferences were a series of conferences that originally, and with extensive effort, organized any and all great minds of the era to further the understanding control in human behavior beginning with the conference titled ‘Cerebral Inhibition’.  These meetings gave birth to Cybernetics. The people involved represent an unprecedented nexus of great minds from the time. I am beginning with a section that outlines the early history of a pivotal individual, Gregory Bateson. (Most of this will be sections quoted from other material)

Bateson, Mead and the OSS

- The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This agency was formed in order to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for the branches of the United States military. Formed 1942. Dissolved 1945 - ... c_Services

- Starting in 1950, the CIA researched and experimented with the use of possible mind-control drugs and other chemical, biological and radiological stimuli on both willing and uninformed subjects. The purpose of these programs was to "investigate whether and how it was possible to modify an individual's behavior by covert means. …. Project MKULTRA, or MK-ULTRA, is perhaps the most famous of the CIA mind-control programs.- ... ted_States

Gregory Bateson and the OSS: World War II and Bateson’s Assessment of Applied Anthropology
by Dr David H. Price, USA

This article uses documents released from the Central Intelligence Agency under the Freedom of Information Act to examine Gregory Bateson’s work for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II…

Gregory Bateson and the OSS

The OSS was created by President Roosevelt on June 13, 1942, and was the direct institutional predecessor to the CIA. Over two dozen anthropologists worked for the OSS during the War, including: E. Wyllys Andrews IV, William Bascom, Gregory Bateson, Lloyd Cabot Briggs, Carleton Coon, Cora DuBois, Anne Fuller, Nelson Glueck, Gordon Hewes, Frederick Hulse, Olov Janse, Felix Keesing, Alexander Lesser, Edwin Loeb, Leonard Mason, Mark May, Alfred Métraux, George Murdock, David Rodnick, Morris Siegel, Richard Starr, David Stout, Morris Swadesh, and T. Cuyler Young.2 There was a great variation in the type of work these individuals undertook – ranging from assignments as linguists, spies, budgetary managers, economic forecasters, and foreign news analysts. By far the most intriguing published account of any of the OSS anthropologists was that of Carleton Coon(1980) in his book “A North Africa Story: The Anthropologist as OSS Agent”, in which he describes his experiences using his pre-war geographic and cultural expertise to help develop allied intelligence and counter-intelligence networks, and insurgency squads in wartorn North Africa.

From its creation onward, the OSS was a fundamentally new type of military-intelligence agency. Its director, “Wild” Bill Donovan, saw the OSS as a new type of multidisciplinary intelligence agency which relied on a variety of creative and unconventional means of both collecting intelligence and undertaking covert actions. The OSS recruited the best and brightest from elite academic and social circles for its ranks. In many ways, Gregory Bateson was a natural candidate for the OSS. Since 1940, Bateson and his then-wife Margaret Mead had been developing and refining the methods used in their studies of “culture at a distance” (Yans-McLaughlin 1986a: 196). These were the very sorts of techniques that the OSS was interested in using to understand and subvert the enemy.

Bateson was initially reluctant to work for a military or intelligence organization. It was his view that, when working for an intelligence organization – as with most applied projects – one is far from free to choose the scope of research, or what is actually done with the fruits of one’s labors. Even before Bateson considered joining the OSS, he was troubled by the ethical questions raised by anthropologists using their knowledge as a weapon in war, or further – that social scientists could expect to have little say in what was done with their research. In 1941, he wrote that the war

“is now a life-or-death struggle over the role which the social sciences shall play in the ordering of human relationships. It is hardly an exaggeration to say (…) this war is ideologically about just this – the role of the social sciences. Are we to reserve the techniques and the right to manipulate peoples as the privilege of a few planning, goal-oriented and power hungry individuals to whom the instrumentality of science makes a natural appeal? Now that we have techniques, are we in cold blood, going to treat people as things? Or what are we going to do with these techniques? (Bateson 1942:84 – as quoted in Yans-McLaughlin 1986a:209).”

While Bateson expressed second thoughts before and again after the war, surprisingly, the picture that emerges from examining the material in his OSS files show a dedicated, even enthusiastic intelligence operative during the war.

Bateson began the war working under contract at Columbia University for the OSS and later the US Navy as a PidginEnglish instructor for troops heading to the South Pacific (Yans-McLaughlin 1986a: 197). His next post was as the “secretary of the Morale Committee” (Yans-McLaughlin 1986a:200). Finally, he served as a civilian “member of a forward intelligence u[n]it in the Arakan mountains of Burma from 1944 to 1945” (Bateson 1944).

Bateson spent much of his wartime duty designing and carrying out “black propaganda” radio broadcasts from remote, secret locations in Burma and Thailand (Lipset 1980:174), and also worked in China, India, and Ceylon (Yans-McLaughlin 1986a:202). The term “black propaganda” simply refers to a technique whereby an individual or group pretends to represent the positions of their enemy, and mixes a preponderance of facts with a careful seasoning of disinformation that will portray the enemy in a negative light. In this work Bateson applied the principles of his theory of schismogenesis to help foster disorder among the enemy.

[He] helped to operate an allied radio station that pretended to be an official Japanese station: it undermined Japanese propaganda by following the official Japanese line but exaggerating it (Mabee 1987:8).

Carleton Mabee noted that,

“Even though both Mead and Bateson were disturbed by the use of deceit in psychological warfare, Mead was not as upset by it as Bateson was. During the war and after, the naturally optimistic Mead never lost her basic faith that science, if responsibly applied, could contribute to solving the practical problems of society, whereas Bateson, more pessimistic by nature, and deeply upset by his wartime experience, emphasized that applying science to society was inherently dangerous, and that the most useful role of science was to foster understanding rather than action. These differences between them were reflected in the breakup of their marriage just after the war (Mabee 1987:8).”  ‘”…

Anthropology and counterinsurgency: the strange story of their curious relationship
Military Review, March-April, 2005 by Montgomery McFate ... ntent;col1

‘… Perhaps the most famous anthropologist who served in the OSS was Gregory Bateson. Bateson, a British citizen, spent many years conducting ethnographic research in New Guinea, the results of which were published in 1936 as Naven. At the beginning of World War II, having failed to find a position with the British War Office, Bateson returned to the United States and was recruited by the OSS, where he served as a civilian member of a forward intelligence unit in the Arakan Mountains of Burma. (29)

In addition to intelligence analysis, Bateson designed and produced "black propaganda" radio broadcasts intended to undermine Japanese propaganda in the Pacific Theater. He found the work distasteful, however, because he believed that truth, especially the unpleasant truth, was healthy. Despite his misgivings about deceitful propaganda, Bateson was a willing and competent operative. In 1945, he volunteered to penetrate deep into enemy territory to attempt the rescue of three OSS agents who had escaped from their Japanese captors. For this service, Bateson was awarded the Pacific Campaign Service Ribbon. (30)

Bateson had remarkable strategic foresight concerning the effect of new technology on warfare. While in the Pacific Theater, he wrote to the legendary director of the OSS, "Wild Bill" Donovan, that the existence of the nuclear bomb would change the nature of conflict, forcing nations to engage in indirect methods of warfare. Bateson recommended to Donovan that the United States not rely on conventional forces for defense but to establish a third agency to employ clandestine operations, economic controls, and psychological pressures in the new warfare. (31) This organization is, of course, now known as the Central Intelligence Agency.

Later in his career, Bateson was allegedly involved with a number of experimental psychological warfare initiatives, including the CIA's Operation MK-Ultra, which conducted mind-control research. It is generally accepted that Bateson "turned on" the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg to LSD at the Mental Research Institute, where Bateson was working on the causes of schizophrenia. (32).’

‘Like her husband, Mead was also involved in the war effort. In addition to producing pamphlets for the Office of War Information, she produced a study for the National Research Council on the cultural food habits of people from different national backgrounds in the United States. She also investigated food distribution as a method of maintaining morale during wartime in the United States. Along with Bateson and Geoffrey Gorer, Mead helped the OSS establish a psychological warfare training unit for the Far East. (34)

Like Bateson, Mead had reservations about the use of deceitful propaganda, believing that such methods have "terrible possibilities of backfiring." Mead's larger concern, however, was the "tremendous amount of resentment" against using anthropological insights during the war. In particular, she noted that using anthropologists to advise advisers is ineffective; to be useful, anthropologists must work directly with policymakers.’”

 ‘ Bateson had long been interested in structuralist or systems approaches, as evidenced by his ethnography Naven. But during World War II and for years afterward, he and Mead began enunciated their ideas employing a kind of discourse more familiar to engineers and computer scientists. That language was cybernetics.
-(1)- ... D_vol2.pdf)’

THE CEREBRAL INHIBITION MEETING: The Beginning of the Macy Conferences.

‘Frank Fremont-Smith (1895–1974) was an American administrator, executive with the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, president of British General Rees's World Federation of Mental Health, known together with Lawrence K. Frank as motivators of the Macy conferences[1], and as promotor for interdisciplinary conferences as platforms for advancing knowledge.

Fremont-Smith was familiar with what would become cybernetics' prehistory, because of his involvement in the 1930s in an informal conversational network around neurophysiology and the work of Walter Cannon on homeostasis.[1]

A second initiative he organized in the 1940s was a meeting about "physiological mechanisms underlying the phenomena of conditioned reflexes and hypnosis as related to the problem of cerebral inhibition." [3] This socalled "Cerebral Inhibition Meeting" was sponsored by the Josiah Macy Foundation attended by scientists like Gregory Bateson, and Margaret Mead, and five others. Together they would initiated the Cybernetics Group. Among its members this group was as called the "Man-Machine Project". Other participants were Warren McCulloch, Arturo Rosenblueth, Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, and Lawrence K. Frank. According to Steinberg (2000) "Rosenblueth, a protégé of Norbert Wiener, set out the broad parameters of the proposed effort.

Between 1946 and 1953 Fremont-Smith worked as Medical Director in the Macy Foundation, when ten Macy Conferences were a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held to discuss "Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems".[4] It was one of the first organized studies of interdisciplinarity, spawning breakthroughs in systems theory and leading to the foundation of what later was to be known as cybernetics. End 1950s he was among the first members of the Society for General Systems Research.

In 1959 Frank Fremont-Smith, as head of the Macy foundation, was the organizer of the first ever held conferences on LSD. ’- -

Harold Alexander Abramson (Nov 27, 1899 – September 1980) was a U.S. Allergist who played a significant role in CIA's MKULTRA program to investigate the military applications of LSD.

In 1953 Abramson proposed an $85,000 study to the CIA on the effects of LSD on unwitting hospital patients. This was the same year that the MKULTRA program was established. Funding for the project was funneled through the Macy Foundation. Abramson was notably the attending physician in connection with the notorious (and allegedly LSD-induced) supposed suicide of Frank Olson, a doctor who was being given LSD as part of the CIA's psychedelics research.

He is said to be the person who influenced many members of the Cybernetics Group to turn to LSD, including Frank Fremont-Smith, head of the Macy foundation. (The Cybernetics Group, originally named The Conference on Feedback Mechanisms in Biology and the Social Sciences, was started in 1946).
’ - -

‘The Macy Conferences were a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held in New York by the initiative of Warren McCulloch and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation from 1946 to 1953. The principal purpose of these series of conferences was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. [1]

It was one of the first organized studies of interdisciplinarity, spawning breakthroughs in systems theory, cybernetics, and what later became known as cognitive science.

Some of the researchers present at the conferences later went on to do extensive government funded research on the psychological effects of LSD, and its potential as a tool for interrogation and psychological manipulation in such projects as the CIA's MKULTRA program. ’ - -

(below is from an interview with Mead and Bateson)

Gregory Bateson: There was this Macy meeting in what, ’42? 1

SB: Who started it, and what was it about?

Bateson: This was a meeting called ‘Cerebral Inhibition,’ which in fact was a meeting on hypnosis.* ‘Cerebral inhibition’ was a respectable word for hypnosis. Most of what was said about ‘feedback’ was said over lunch.

Mead: Well, I know that’s what you always tell people, but I didn’t sit at the same place at lunch, and I heard what was said at that conference. But at that conference, which is the one where Milton Erickson hypnotised that Yale psychologist, it was at the end of that conference that you really had the design of what needed to be done. And then you were caught up in war work and went overseas and there was that long period.

I think that you actually have to go back to that earlier meeting that was held in the basement of the old Psycho-Analytic building on the West Side the day of Pearl Harbor.’ - -

‘Though largely of interest to mathematicians, engineers, and new “scientists” in the field of computing, Mead, Bateson, and their mutual friend psychologist Larry Frank, played an integral role in the growth and direction of cybernetics in its earliest years, with Frank serving as the link to Macy Foundation funding.11  After the War, the founding group of like-minded thinkers—Frank, Bateson, Mead, Rosenblueth, Wiener, and Bigelow—continued to meet with an expanded “core” of enthusiasts including: mathematicians John von Neumann and Walter Pitts, neurobiologists Warren McCulloch and W. Ross Ashby, and Viennese engineer Heinz von Foerster. Though he was not in a settled academic position in the States, Bateson provided the impetus for the well-known series of Macy-funded cybernetics meetings that commenced in March 1946 in New York City’s Beekman Hotel.12 The commitment to broad social applications of cybernetics that he shared with Mead and Frank colored the spirit of the first few proceedings.

Deutero-learning, or learning to learn, did not originate with Bateson any more than cybernetics. If anything, he imbibed this notion of meta-learning in conversations with Larry Frank even before WWII.30 However, over the late 1940s, Bateson added deutero-learning to the psychological work of another Macy conference participant, father of social psychology Kurt Lewin, and stirred these concepts together with cybernetic tools of analysis.31 At Langley-Porter, Bateson, together with Jurgen Ruesch, crafted an elegant theory of dual-level communication.32 Bateson applied this model of communication first to a theory of play.33 Then, beginning in 1952, Bateson and his new colleagues at the Palo Alto VA Hospital began developing a cybernetic model of schizophrenia. In 1954, Bateson successfully applied to the Rockefeller Foundation for a grant to assemble a multi-disciplinary team to study schizophrenia as a mental disease arising from errors in inter-personal communication between parent and child. His collaboration with Jay Haley and John Weakland on the one hand and Don D. Jackson on the other, attacking the seemingly insuperable problems presented by schizophrenic patients, led to the kind of high-profile professional recognition for Bateson that he simultaneously cherished and loathed’… - ... D_vol2.pdf -


‘…Though citation of the Macy Foundation explains the source of werewithal for the cybernetics group's conferences, one might still wonder about the source of interest and even enthusiasm that caused this medical foundation to sponsor something not often associated with medicine per se. This motivation can be attributed to two persons - Lawrence K. Frank and Frank Fremont-Smith.

In the late 1930's Frank had been a senior executive with the Macy Foundation, where he was a friend and mentor to Fremont-Smith. Frank's longtime interests included child development, and he is often considered to be the godfather of the American child development field.
At the time the cybernetics group coalesced, he was what we'd now call a 'free-floating consultant'. Frank was no stranger to cybernetics' prehistory. He'd been intrigued by Walter Cannon's 1929 writings on 'homeostasis' and how this concept might pertain to child development. His role in the rise of American social science was significant, though perhaps his most important contributions pertained to fostering programs and careers. [/]At the time of the first cybernetics meetings, Frank and his longtime friend Margaret Mead represented a formidable social science contingent. [/b]

One of the careers Frank fostered was that of Frank Fremont-Smith, who by the 1940's was the head of the Macy Foundation's medical office. Fremont-Smith's familiarity with cybernetics' prehistory dated back to around 1930, when he helped establish an informal conversational network on subjects such a neurophysiology and Cannon's 'homeostasis'….

It is common to correlate cybernetics' origins with a series of 10 conferences sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation from 1946 through 1953. This cursory approach overlooks the fact that those conferences might never have occurred had the key participants not met in a small May 1942 meeting where they first exchanged ideas and generated the enthusiasm which would motivate those later conferences. The title of this meeting, set up by Frank Fremont-Smith, was 'Cerebral Inhibition'. Attendance was by invitation only, and the two topics on the agenda were hypnotism and conditioned reflex. Milton Erickson [( )] and Howard Liddell were the featured speakers on these topics, respectively. The planned agenda went well, but it turned out to be merely peripheral to the event's most significant outcome.  The attendees included Lawrence Frank, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, psychiatrist Warren McCulloch, Mexican physiologist Arturo Rosenblueth, and psychiatrist Lawrence Kubie. These 6 people would later become members of the persistent 'core group' for the more famous 'Macy Conferences' (1946 - 1953).

It was Arturo Rosenblueth's presentation of ideas he'd been developing with Norbert Wiener and Julian Bigelow that drew everyone's attention. Rosenblueth outlined a conceptual agenda based on similarities between behaviors of both machines and organisms that were interpretable as being 'goal-directed'. This goal-directedness (long spurned by hard science) was framed in terms of definitive and deterministic 'teleological mechanisms.' 'Teleology' was transformed from philosophical mumbo-jumbo to concrete mechanism through the invocation of 'circular causality' in a system, whereby new behaviors were influenced by 'feedback' deriving from immediately preceding behaviors. This approach allowed one to address apparent purposiveness with reference to the present and the immediate past, without having to invoke references to possible or future events.

Rosenblueth's presentaton resonated with everyone present - most particularly with Bateson and McCulloch, each of whom immediately saw linkages between these new concepts and issues in their respective fields. Mead would later claim she'd been both so excited and so absorbed in the lecture that she didn't noticed she'd broken a tooth.

However, American involvement in WWII was underway, and the various participants were scattered to their wartime duties. For example, Bateson undertook assignments in the Pacific region, while Rosenblueth and McCulloch returned to their research at MIT.

The following year the content of Rosenblueth's presentation was published as:

Rosenblueth, A., Wiener, N., and J. Bigelow, "Behavior, purpose and teleology", Philosophy of Science, Vol. 10 (1943), pp. 18 - 24. – (this most influential work can be found here )

As soon as the war ended, Bateson contacted Fremont-Smith, pushing for some sort of conference to follow up on the concepts from the 1942 meeting. As it turned out, McCulloch had already been pushing for the same thing since immediately after the 1942 event. Fremont-Smith had begun arranging a conference for March 1946 to be chaired by McCulloch. It was originally planned to include scholars from the fields closest to the topics being addressed by McCulloch and his colleague Walter Pitts (biology, neural physiology, and mathematics). However, Fremont-Smith accepted Bateson's recommendation to invite selected people from the social and behavioral sciences as well.

The legendary 'Macy Conferences' were thus set in motion. A total of 10 conferences were held from 1946 through 1953. The first nine were held at the Beekman Hotel in New York City, and the tenth was held in Princeton New Jersey. …

A core group of approximately 20 recurring participants was drawn from engineering, biology (particularly fields dealing with neural systems), medicine, and the social sciences (most particularly psychology). As time went on, some core group members left (or, in Kurt Lewin's case - died) and were replaced by others.
’ - ... tm#MacySum

Starting in 1946 the ‘core group’ was expanded to include many other prominent names


The full list of core members is available above, but I find there are quite a few who are particularly notable:

Frank Fremont-Smith – Simultaneously funded and organized the Macy Conferences and the first ‘World Health Organization (WHO) Study Group’ of whom Mead was an integral figure, Money was funneled through the Macy Foundation from the CIA program MK-Ultra to study LSD. ,

Margaret Mead- Worked for and received funding from the O.S.S., Part of the initial ‘Core Group’ of the Macy Conferences. Pivotal figure in the WHO study group.

Gregory Bateson- Worked for and received funding from the O.S.S.,  Husband of Mead , In the original Core group, formulated cybernetic theories of human behavior, figurehead in the Human Potential Movement and New Age psychologies including Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, studied behavior in family systems and formulated communicational theories of mental illness notably the Double bind theory of Schizophrenia. , viewtopic.php?f=81&t=30423

Arturo Rosenblueth- Co-wrote the influential 1943 paper first presented at the ‘Cerebral Inhibition Meeting’ entitled ‘Behavior, purpose and teleology’, part of the core group.

Kurt Lewin- Father of social Psychology, Affiliated with Tavistock and the NTL, developer of sensitivity training, pioneer in the study of group dynamics and director at MIT, died 1947. , ,   viewtopic.php?f=81&t=31447

John von Neumann- Founder of Game Theory, frequent consultant for many large organizations including the CIA and RAND corp who first studied game theory such as ‘The Prisoners Dilemma’, involved in the Manhattan project and the development of the atomic bomb.

Norbert Weiner- Co-wrote the influential 1943 paper first presented at the ‘Cerebral Inhibition Meeting’ entitled ‘Behavior, purpose and teleology’, Along with other works like ‘1948, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Paris, (Hermann & Cie) & Camb. Mass. (MIT Press)’, and ‘1950, The Human Use of Human Beings.

… some notable attendees that were not part of the ‘core group’ were:

Erik Erikson- Prominent psychologist who developed theories of psychosocial development and identity formation in children, attended the original WHO study group.

Leon Festinger- Social psychologist who studied under Kurt Lewin, Famous for advancing studies in Group Dynamics with his theory of Cognitive Dissonance and Social Comparison Theory, professor at group dynamic departments of MIT and University of Michigan.


The reader will notice the organization of the first meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO) coincided precisely with the Macy Conferences and were founded by the same people. Frank Fremont –Smith and Margaret Mead.

The Meetings of the World Health Organization Study Group on the Psychobiological Development of the Child began in 1953. They were chaired by Frank Fremont-Smith, based on his work as part of the Josiah Macy Junior Foundation. According the history reported on the website of the American Society for Cybernetics ( ... tm#MacySum), Freemont-Smith’s mentor at the Macy Foundation was Lawrence K. Frank, considered to be “the godfather of the American child development field.” Frank had been intrigued since the 1930s with the concept of homeostasis, based on a 1929 paper by Walter Cannon, and was close friends with Margaret Mead.

In 1942, Freemont-Smith had organized a meeting on the topic of cerebral inhibition. The invited attendees included Lawrence Frank, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Warren McCulloch, Arturo Rosenblueth and Lawrence Kubie. These formed the core group of what became the first of the Macy Conferences.

The first Macy Foundation conference, which Fremont-Smith also organized, was called Feedback Mechanisms and Circular Causal Systems in Biological and Social Systems. Between 1946 and 1953, ten meetings were held. In addition to the participants noted above, participants included Ross Ashby, Julian Bigelow, Heinz von Foerster, Ralph Gerard, Molly Harrower, Paul Lazarsfeld, Kurt Lewin, John von Neumann, Walter Pitts, Leonard Savage and Norbert Wiener, and guests including Erik Erikson, Claude Shannon and Talcott Parsons.

These conferences are usually considered to have created the origins of cybernetics, and included a number of people who became part of the general systems theorists
(to be described later.) The influence of these meetings was not restricted to the US, though….

The WHO Study Group

When the WHO Study Group began in 1953, there was a tremendous background of knowledge and prior relations being brought in, which is not noted in the proceedings or other writings. The members for the first meeting, including areas of specialty, were:

• John Bowlby, Psychoanalysis
• Frank Fremont-Smith, Research Promotion
• G. R. Hargreaves, Psychiatry
• Bärbel Inhelder, Psychology
• Konrad Lorenz, Ethology
• Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropology
• K. A. Melin, Electrophysiology
• Marcel Monnier, Electrophysiology
• Jean Piaget, Psychology
• A. Rémond, Electrophysiology
• R. R. Struthers, Research Promotion
• J. M. Tanner, Human Biology
• William Grey Walter, Electrophysiology
• René Zazzo, Psychology

In addition, three guests were included in this first meeting: J. C. Carothers, Psychiatry; E. E. Krapf, Psychiatry; and, Charles Odier, Psychoanalysis. In the third and fourth meetings, Erik Erikson was included, and in the fourth meeting only, Ludwig von Bertalanffy (Tanner & Inhelder, 1971).

Freemont-Smith acted as the chairman for the meetings, based on his previous work with the Macy Foundation in hosting interdisciplinary conferences. Mead, Grey Walter, and Erikson had all been involved to various degrees with similar meetings and conferences before this, as noted above.

Despite the fact that Bowlby’s report, Maternal Care and Mental Health (1952), was one of two papers which helped to instigate the WHO Study Group (and the other paper, interestingly, being on psychiatric aspects of juvenile delinquency), the meetings in the end were very broadly about child development.
Each meeting was preceded by papers being sent between all participants, and each meeting begun with presentations of papers to introduce ideas for discussion. The first meeting, for instance, included presentations on physical and physiological development of children, the behavior of newborn anencephalics, electroencephalographic development of children, and cross-cultural approaches to child development.” - ... entist.pdf (interesting doc on Bowlby).........

!!!……. Due to the scope of this project I am going to have to leave this a tad open ended for the time being and finish with some general conclusions…….!!!!!


To examine The Macy Conferences without also analyzing the work done outside of it by the members of the ‘Core Group’ would be in disrespect of the enormous impact it had throughout countless discliplines.  The paper “Behavior, Purpose and Teleology” is, without a doubt, a revelation. And there are so many influential figures in their own right, such as Milton Erickson (the most famous hypnotherapist) or Leon Festinger or Von Neumann, who have produced endless volumes held in reverence. But as it concerns the original concept of control of the human mind I find there are two people whos  continued work represent the fundamental scientific core behind what has been progressively called ‘brainwashing, thought reform, and eventually mind control’ as they came from various perspectives. These people are Gregory Bateson and Kurt Lewin.

Ultimately my conclusions are contained in the following links. I hope that What has been presented here on the Macy Conferences sheds light on the importance of Kurt Lewin and Sensitivity Training and Gregory Bateson’s work on the Double Bind in understanding the progression of Mind Control, with particular focus on the Troubled Teen Industry.

Double Bind: Mind control in the TTI – viewtopic.php?f=81&t=30423

Training, Therapy, or Thought reform in the TTI? – viewtopic.php?f=81&t=31447

Thanks to the patient reader –  Awake

Thought Reform / MARION PRISON: a model for mind control?
« on: November 21, 2010, 05:34:35 PM »
MARION PRISON: a model for mind control?:

This may be an interesting piece of history relevant to the troubled teen industry that many can relate to.  It is an article on behavior modification in Marion State Penitentiary called ‘Breaking Men's Minds: Behavior Control and Human Experimentation at the Federal Prison in Marion’ which also centers around a 1974 senate report on behavior modification of which includes the topic of troubled teen and drug recovery programs.

Here’s a wikepedia snippet first.

 “Opened in 1963, Marion became the United States' highest security prison by 1978.[4] The facility became the nation's first control unit when violence forced a long-term lockdown in 1983.

Marion was one of two supermax prisons in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the other being ADX Florence in Colorado. The prison was originally constructed to hold 500 inmates. In 1968, a behavior modification program was implemented, called Control and Rehabilitation Effort, or CARE. Inmates placed in CARE wound up either in solitary confinement, or were subjected to "group therapy", which involved psychological sessions.
 … Amnesty International has categorized it as inhumane.” - ... ry,_Marion  -

… And I’m only going to copy a few portions of the article, but well worth a full read.

‘Breaking Men's Minds: Behavior Control and Human Experimentation at the Federal Prison in Marion’. Journal of Prisoners on Prisons Vol. 4 No. 2 (1993)

….Behavior modification at Marion consists of a manifold of four techniques: 1) Dr. Edgar H. Schein's brainwashing methodology; 2) Skinnerian operant conditioning; 3) Dr. Levinson's sensory deprivation design (i.e. Control Unit); and 4) chemotherapy and drug therapy. And, as I will point out, the use of these techniques, the way they are disguised behind pseudonyms and under the philosophical rhetoric of correction…

…But the omnipotent is also omnipresent. Nothing escapes Marion’s elaborate network of ‘eyes’. Between television monitors, prisoner spies, collaborators, and prison officials, every crevice of the prison is overlaid by a constant watch. Front-line officers specially trained in the cold, calculated art of observation, watch prisoners’ movements with a particular meticulousness, scrutinizing little details in behavior patterns, then recording them in the Log Book. This aid provides the staff with a means to manipulate certain individuals’ behavior. It is feasible to calculate a prisoner's level of sensitivity from the information, so his vulnerability can be tested with a degree of precision. Some behavior modification experts call these tests ‘stress assessment.’ Prisoners call it harassment. In some cases, selected prisoners are singled out for one or several of these ‘differential treatment’ tactics. A prisoner could have his mail turned back or ‘accidentally’ mutilated. He could become the object of regular searches, or even his visitors could be strip searched. These and more tactics are consistent with those propagated by one Dr. Edgar H. Schein.


At a Washington, DC conference in 1962 organized for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) by the National Institutes of Mental Health, Schein presented his ideas on brainwashing. Addressing the topic of ‘Man against Man’: Brainwashing, he stated:

In order to produce marked changes of behavior and/or attitude, it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the supports to the old patterns of behavior and the old attitudes. Because most of these supports are the face to-face confirmation of present behavior and attitudes, which are provided by those with whom close emotional ties exist, it is often necessary to break those emotional ties. This can be done either by removing the individual physically and preventing any communication with those whom he cares about, or by proving to him that those whom he respects aren't worthy of it and, indeed, should be actively mistrusted (quoted in Chorover 1979).

Dr. Schein then provided the group with a list of specific examples:

?Physical removal of prisoners from areas sufficiently isolated to effectively break or seriously weaken close emotional ties. ?Segregation of all natural leaders. ?Use of cooperative prisoners as leaders. ?Prohibition of group activities not in line with brainwashing objectives. ?Spying on prisoners and reporting back private material.  ?Tricking men into written statements which are then showed to others.  ?Exploitation of opportunists and informers.  ?Convincing prisoners that they can trust no one.  ?Treating those who are willing to collaborate in far more lenient ways than those who are not.  ?Punishing those who show uncooperative attitudes.  ?Systematic withholding of mail.  ?Preventing contact with anyone non-sympathetic to the method of treatment and regimen of the captive populace.  ?Disorganization of all group standards among prisoners. ?Building a group conviction among the prisoners that they have been abandoned by and totally isolated from their social order.  ?Undermining of all emotional supports. ?Preventing prisoners from writing home or to friend in the community regarding the conditions of their confinement. ?Making available and permitting access to only those publications and books that contain materials which are neutral to or supportive of the desired new attitudes.   ?Placing individuals into new and ambiguous situations for which the standards are kept deliberately unclear and then putting pressure on him to conform to what is desired in order to win favor and a reprieve from the pressure. ?Placing individuals whose willpower has been severely weakened or eroded into a living situation with several others who are more advanced in their thought-reform whose job it is to further undermine the individual's emotional supports. ?Using techniques of character invalidation, ie., humiliations, revilement, shouting, to induce feelings of guilt, fear, and suggestibility; coupled with sleeplessness, an exacting prison regimen and periodic interrogational interviews. ?Meeting all insincere attempts to comply with cellmates' pressures with renewed hostility. ?Renewed pointing out to the prisoner by cell mates of where he has in the past, or is in the present, not been living up to his own standards or values. ?Rewarding of submission and subserviency to the attitudes encompassing the brainwashing objective with a lifting of pressure and acceptance as a human being. ?Providing social and emotional supports which reinforce the new attitudes (ibid.).

And, of course, as noted in the introduction to this edition of the Journal, following Schein's address, then-director of the BOP, James V. Bennett, encouraged the administrators and wardens throughout the federal prison system to put Schein's techniques into practice. 'We can manipulate our environment and culture. We can perhaps undertake some of the techniques Dr. Schein discussed.... There's a lot of research to do. Do it as individuals. Do it as groups and let us know the results' (ibid.).
(underlined for relatedness to this fornits thread viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31751 )

That was in 1962. Since then the results have been compiled and evaluated many times over, and all but one of Schein's suggested techniques have been left intact at Marion – along with the addition of several new features….


There is a small elite group in the prison population that is looked upon by the administration with great favor, because the group shares the same basic ideals with the administration. The group's members see the prison authority as a ‘parent.’ They think of themselves as ‘residents’ rather than as prisoners or captives - because to change the word is to change the reality. And they believe the program in which they are being trained will make them ‘qualified therapeutic technicians’ and help them secure a change in residency.

At Marion, this program is called Asklepieion - which literally means ‘nothing’. The prisoners call the group ‘groders’ or groder’s gorillas, named after the psychologist who implemented Dr. Schein's brainwashing program. The ‘groders’ live in a special cellblock that, by prison standards, is plush. They are allowed luxuries and privileges which regular prisoners can not receive. However, they are
convinced that they 'earn' these things because they are trying to do something to ‘better themselves’. Generally, they look on other convicts with contempt. When confronted with evidence that they are a brainwash group, they reject the proof and accuse other prisoners of being envious But the reality speaks for itself. The program employs a number of noted therapeutic techniques; e.g., transactional analysis, Synanon attack therapy, psychodrama, primal therapy, and encounter group marathon sensitivity sessions.

The administration's favorite is transactional analysis (TA). Essentially, TA propagates the theory that people communicate on three different levels: parent, child, and adult. These become character roles. It is up to the corresponding party to figure out which role the first party is playing, then communicate with the person on the proper counter-part level. What this technique actually does is create an artificial dichotomy between people, each straining to fit into the proper character role. Thus, communication becomes artificial, stilted, and utterly meaningless in its content. Everyone sounds like a pseudo-intellectual. Ultimately, it propagates the idea that the authorities always fit the role of ‘parent’ and the prisoners must submit to the role of a ‘child’. Although some ‘groders’ pretend this practice is a fakeout on ‘the man,’ it still is a real social practice. Changing the words to describe it does not change the reality.

Other techniques include Dr. Schein's ‘character invalidation’. These techniques are incorporated under the auspices of ‘game sessions’ (Synanon attack therapy) and ‘marathons’ (encounter group sensitivity sessions). In ‘game sessions’ members of the group accuse a person of playing games, not being truthful with the group, lying, and so forth, or the person is accused of some misdeed or shortcoming. Before he is allowed a chance to explain (which is considered as only more lying), he is relentlessly barraged by dirty-name calling until he confesses or ‘owns up’ to his shortcomings. He is then accused of making the group go through a lot of trouble in having to pry the truth out of him. 50, for this crime, he is forced to apologize.

‘Marathons’ are all-night versions of literally the same, except that they include local community people who come into the prison to be 'trained' in the techniques. After so many hours of being verbally attacked and denied sleep, a person ‘owns up’ to anything and accepts everything he is told. After being humiliated, he is encouraged to cry. The group then shows its compassion by hugging him and telling him that they love him.

These techniques exploit the basic weaknesses in human (aggregative) nature, especially those weaknesses produced by an alienating society, i.e., the need to be loved, cared about, accepted by other people, and the need to be free. In turn, they are transmuted into ‘submission and subserviency’, the type of behavior conducive to the prison officials' goal of control and manipulation. The ‘groders’ will not resist or complain. Nor will they go on a strike to seek redress of prisoners’ grievances. They are alienated from their environment, and emotional inter-dependency welds and insulates them into a crippled cohesion (of the weak bearing the weak). They are not permitted to discuss these techniques outside the group, because one of the preconditions for admittance is a bond to secrecy. Yet almost anyone can spot a ‘groder’ because the light has gone out of his eyes. He literally wears the look of humiliation.

…. What the ‘groders’ fail to realize is that, even as ‘therapists,’ they will remain under observation long after their release from prison - under what is euphemistically called 'post-release follow-through.' And what Dr. Groder fails to realize is that by camouflaging Dr. Schein's techniques under pseudonyms, whereby prisoners who volunteer for the program cannot recognize its real meaning and objectives, extensive violations of the Nuremburg Code have taken and are taking place. Even the implication of freedom as inducement for volunteers is considered a means of coercion by the Code's standards. The first principle in the Code proclaims:

‘[V]oluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision ... . Before an acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject, there should be made known to him the nature, duration and purpose of the experiment.’ …

The full article is here

I think many will find their experience in troubled teen programs contains, not only similarities, but is modeled under the same influences as eluded to in the 1974 senate report on behavior modification that is being reffered to  -



Thought Reform / Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?
« on: October 17, 2010, 09:09:47 PM »
Training, Therapy or Thought Reform in the TTI?-Awake-

This paper attempts to examine the influence of thought reform as it relates to programs for troubled teens. A particular focus will be on the identification of sensitivity training as a potential tool of coercion as it concerns the dynamics of group therapy common in programs. A main point of comparison will be the method of eliciting confessions in thought reform.

But first…. What is Sensitivity Training?

“Sensitivity Training attempts to improve communication between individuals in a group setting by sensitizing them to each other and to themselves . Since such training takes place in a group, the inner workings of the group (hence the community) become increasingly important for the individual to understand and relate to.”

“ to understand the evolution of training practices, let us review the format of a general all- purpose training experience. Such a training group would consist of eight to fifteen people. The trainer, after setting forth the group task of learning from the interactions within the group, would then recede, leaving a leadership vacuum. Such a vacuum compels participants to struggle to develop structure and meaning themselves.”

“The skills to be achieved were intended to help an individual function in the role of change agent. A change agent was to be a paragon who had awareness of the need for change, was able to diagnose the problems involved, who could plan for change, implement his plans, and evaluate the results. To become an effective change agent, it was believed necessary to understand the dynamics if groups.”

“Training orientations are divisible into two main trends: toward interactional awareness and toward expanded experiencing.”

“The training movement has for the most part vigorously denied that it has been engaged in the practice of psychotherapy. It’s processes have nevertheless attracted the interest of clinical practitioners, (as well as social psychologists and educators) mainly because they involve emotional, personality and relationship elements of a very intense kind and level.”

“The open ended possibilities for learning and change in the original rational for Training seemed to invite the application of “optimistic” theories of psychotherapy because of their emphasis upon such concepts as “growth” and “self realization” (Maslow 1962; Rogers 1951)…. Resemblences between training and current group treatment practices are also apparent in such unique rehabilitation efforts as “Synanon” Games and “Daytop” sessions for drug addicts. These methods attempt rehabilitation of severe character disorders through communal adaption and group normative pressures. This is accomplished in confrontation sessions which develop an atmosphere of peak emotionality as peers judge and critique the behaviors of individuals to a degree inconceivable in conventional therapies.”

“Training group discussions and staff “bull sessions” were the scenes of serious debates about the manipulation of attitudes, feelings and beliefs, in the wake of the nationwide concern about brainwashing (mental coercion) after the Korean war.” --Martin Lakin. Interpersonal Encounter: Theory and Practice in Sensitivity Training -1972

“Perhaps one might expect single individuals to be more plyable than groups of like minded individuals. However experience in leadership training, in changing of food habits, work production, criminality, alchoholism, prejudices, all seem to indicate that it is usually easier to change individuals formed into a group than to change any one of them separately. …. If the group standard itself is changed, the resistance to which is due to the relation between individual and group standard is eliminated.”  –Kurt Lewin .  “Frontiers in Group Dynamics” Human Relations 1947. --

“Human Relations Training fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which includes coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing as well as a multitude of less coercive, informal patterns.”  -Edgar Schein. “Management Development, Human Relations Training, and the Process of Influence” Issues In Training. c. 1962 National Training Laboratories and National Educational Association

…   …                                                                           1                                                                                …   …

There is no question  the development of Sensitivity Training is among, if not the most,  influential change mechanism in the design of troubled teen programs and the most pervasive to date. Virtually any teen who has gone through a program has experienced a particular brand of encounter group therapy that has an ulterior motive, to serve as a  tool for Sensitivity Training. However, it is not something the average American or parent has any awareness of. As well, what Sensitivity Training IS by definition, is not very clear.  What is clear is that Sensitivity Training is over and over again compared to communist thought reform or ‘brainwashing‘  techniques. Looking into its’ history I find there are three specific divisions among professionals concerning just WHAT SENSITIVITY TRAINING IS. The consensus is that  IT MAY BE TRAINING, THERAPY, OR THOUGHT REFORM, and the nuances that would distinctly separate these conceptual applications are only loosely defined. Most disturbingly though is that the coercive use of Sensitivity Training would, as it relates to thought reform, mask itself under these false settings to deceive the subject. The question of whether Sensitivity Training  is coercive persuasion is a valid question for the general public as it concerns business and public education, but this concern should be much more relevant in troubled teen programs as the totalistic environment and coerced application present many more similarities to the tactics that originally led to the term ‘brainwashing’.

Is it brainwashing? The father of social psychology and developer of Senstivity Training, Kurt Lewin, outlines his theory in his work that began the Journal of Human Relations, ‘Frontiers in Group Dynamics’. His very first words to describe what leads to his findings state that , “One of the byproducts of World War II of which society is hardly aware is the new stage of development which the social sciences have reached. This development indeed may prove to be as revolutionary as the atom bomb.”  The proliferation of Sensitivity Training suggests he was right. He outlined a theory of unfreezing, changing, and re-freezing of group beliefs values and behaviors that are directly compared with brainwashing techniques among many of the authorities on the subject.  So what do the varying perspectives say about this?

A scholar in the field Martin Lakin, addresses in his book,  ‘Interpersonal Encounter’,  concerns regarding coerced change, brainwashing, and the manipulation of attitudes, feelings and beliefs in group encounter saying, “ It is a mistake to simply dismiss such fears…… In this connection, the early commitment of training to the values of uncoerced choice, autonomy, and voluntary participation in democratic decision making is important to bear in mind. ….. If, however, it were established that training involved not free exchange, but a subtle process of influence WHICH ONLY RESEMBLES FREE EXCHANGE, then the influences of a training experience would indeed be dangerous, the more so for being difficult to detect. “  He discusses the implications of such hidden coercion in Sensitivity Training groups suggesting that a split can occur in terms of “real or illusory” self choosing and self direction.

There is no shortage of claims that compare Sensitivity Training to brainwashing. However, I believe these implications are much more serious in the case of the Troubled Teen Industry. A main point of reasoning comes from Lakin who identifies Sensitivity Training as, “only temporary societies whose members never really lose contact with their primary environments.” This is clearly not the case in the TTI, in fact it is likely that the controlled conditions at these facilities will mirror communist thought reform prisons in many ways. At this point it is of importance to evaluate the coercive applications of this modernized method as described in communist thought reform, namely the interrogation, demand for Confession and elicitation of false confession of POW’s.

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During the Korean war America first encountered the phenomenon of ‘ brainwashing’ as astonishing numbers of our own captured troops confessed to war crimes and denounced the American war effort, and this was done so genuinely that it seemed that their attitudes and beliefs were indeed converted to the ideology of their communist captors. Thus began our own efforts to study, experiment with, and understand ‘brainwashing’, also reffered to as thought reform or coercive persuasion.  One area of focus was the interrogation procedure as carrying out dual functions.

First, interrogation functions to elicit confession (true or false, it is still a success for the interrogator), and second is the interrogation process as a covert teaching tool that makes the prisoner sensitive to the interrogators beliefs and expectations of him as a repentant confessor, INDOCTRINATING HIM WITH ‘ACCEPTABLE CONFESSOR BEHAVIOR’  that is repeatedly elicited.  As well , this manipulation of behavior in interrogation is stated to be possibly covertly hidden in a therapeutic setting. This becomes more and more of a focus as Sensitivity Training becomes a widespread tool in therapy in American culture, which I will come to. But for now some specifics on the methods used by the communist ‘re-educators’ and resulting research done in the U.S. is offered for comparison as it concerns the topic of evaluating Sensitivity Training in Troubled Teen Programs  today.

Albert Biderman was one sociologist who pioneered the efforts to understand indoctrination through interrogation.  He explains this in a 1956 peice,  Communist Attempts To Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners Of War, that “In this extreme form of "confession"-elicitation, as encountered by our men, the objective was not merely having the prisoner "confirm"  that certain acts were committed, but rather to have his behavior confirm the entire world-view of the Communists relevant to those acts.  Learning what behavior was being demanded and, even more, learning the elaborate symbols and nuances through which this behavior had to be expressed to be acceptable -- these were complex learning tasks indeed.  The tasks were perplexingly difficult since the interrogator seldom made these demands explicit.  Only by indirection was the prisoner generally made aware of the "crimes" of which he was "accused". He had to use his own imagination and largely irrelevant events of his own life history to concoct an acceptable detailed account of  things which never happened.”  

He also says, “These "confession"-extortion efforts involve the attempt to manipulate the individual so that he behaves over an extended period as if:

(a) he actually committed certain concrete acts which he can "describe" with meticulous detail'(b) these acts were "criminal", in the sense of being violations of the most fundamental standards of human decency;(c) these acts were not isolated transgressions but manifestations of a "criminal" pattern in his thought and action;(d) his "crimes" were part and parcel of a larger nefarious political conspiracy; (e) his "criminal" role was motivated by a self-seeking alignment with this political conspiracy, of which he was only a pawn; (f) he is now remorseful and repentant; (g) his changed attitude is due to new-found political conviction for which he is indebted to his patient captors. “

Biderman explored a variety of coercive methods in this kind of interrogation style indoctrination but he noted a couple perspectives that were favorable for use by an interrogator. The first finding is that the communist interrogators did not often inflicted direct physical pain to coerce confession as it was an ineffective way to gain compliance. Rather than presenting the prisoner with a contest between himself and the interrogator, a better tactic was to put him in a situation where he ‘acts against himself’. Being made to stand at attention for hours or days the direct source of pain is “not the interrogator but the victim himself ”. “The motivational strength of the individual is likely to exhaust itself in this internal encounter.” The interrogator then is a source of reprieve and salvation from his own persecution when he intervenes, and he can’t be accused of laying a hand on him.

Robert  Lifton further investigates this type of breakdown process  in a 1957 article entitled ‘CHINESE COMMUNIST THOUGHT REFORM: CONFESSION AND THE RE-EDUCATION OF WESTERN CIVILIANS’ published in Psychiatry journal for the Study of Interpersonal processes. It begins with the statement, “The Chinese Communists have developed a peculiar brand of soul surgery which they practice with impressive skill – the process of “thought reform”.

Lifton interprets the experience of westerners in their system of reform beginning with the ‘Penal “reform” Scheme’ saying that their crime is always “attributed to the residual, harmful effects of the ‘old society’ and penal institutions are viewed as therapeutic centers for ‘reform’.”  He uses the term “incriminating labyrinth” to describe this kind of therapeutic interrogation that begins with the accusation that “the government knows all about your crimes, this is why we arrested you. It is now up to you to confess everything to us, and in this way your case can be solved quickly and you will soon be released.” The shocked and defensive prisoner hearing this for the first time is repeatedly reassured of his guilt because ‘the government does not arrest innocent people.’

The interrogation becomes an endless procedure intented to exhaust the prisoner.  Lifton describes, that he is questioned on his history, whereabouts and personal connections in explicit detail, and at  every attempt of the prisoner to provide facts to clear his name is the respose “There is more. You are not telling us all. You must be frank.”  No matter what the frustrated prisoner says he can’t satisfy the interrogator. At this point of frustration and confusion he is offered brief, unpredictable periods of leniency, such as time to sleep that is interrupted quickly to return to interrogation. Denial of guilt is soon met with repercussions and the prisoner feels increasing need to appease the demands to confession.

The prisoner finds that the interrogations don’t cease, for once returned to his cell, “He is immediately set on by his Chinese cellmates, led by their appointed chief, who demand to know what has taken place during the interrogation session. They initiate what is called a ‘struggle to help him with his confession’ whereas they sit in a circle and denounce him as a “stubborn imperialist who refuses to recognize their crimes.”  These cellmates are specifically chosen because they are “ advanced in their reform process, and each one skillfull and severe in their criticism of others.”    They report daily to the inspectors about him.

Lifton describes the disturbing effects of altering between these direct interrogations and the ones the prisoner endures in his cell, which he calls “struggles” or just “help”. It is in this situation in which “ the help offered by his cellmates may include not only persuasion, BUT ALSO INSULTS AND EVEN PHYSICAL VIOLENCE . HOWEVER, “Sometimes the help is well meant, offered by a sympathetic person such as a religious colleague who is placed in the cell because the Communist authorities know even his help will be in the direction of confession. And it can become extremely difficult to distinguish between “real help” and “communist help”.”

Eventually the prisoner is broken down to a point overwhelmed with guilt and despair. It is at this point the Communist captors change their attitude toward him quite markedly; this leniency is a “calculated kindness”. They offer him better privileges if he will “cooperate with the government”. Lifton takes a statement from a prisoner saying after two and a half months…

“I was brought to see the judge. For the first time I found the room full of sunlight. There was no guard and there were no secretaries. There were only the kind faces of the judges offering me cigarettes and tea. It was a conversation more than a questioning. My mother could not have been much more good or kind than the judge was. He said to me, ’The treatment you have received here is really too bad. Maybe you are unable to stand it. As a foreigner and a priest, you must be used to good food and better hygienic standards. So just make a confession. But make it really good, so we can be satisfied. Then we can close your trial and finish your case.”

This leniency is crucial to extracting confession and “reforming” the prisoner. But leniency fluctuates with vindictiveness as each confession only grants a temporary rewards and further confessions are demanded.  Confession becomes the underlying theme of all aspects of life to the prisoner.  Eventually confession is learned to be given from “the peoples standpoint”, which represents the prisoners conditioned response to demands for confession as one that is sensitized to the communist perspective of him.  Lifton quotes another prisoner…

“In the cell 12 hours a day you talk and talk – you have to take part – you must discuss yourself, criticize, inspect yourself, denounce your thoughts. Little by little you start to admit something, and look to yourself, only looking from the peoples judgement…. You have the feeling that you look to yourself on the peoples side, and that you are a criminal.”

The progress in confession may begin with concrete facts, but ends up with the prisoner construing reality, repeating and refining it in such detail that it becomes reality in his daily life, interactions, thoughts, and behaviors.  This continues in ‘re-education’ in which study groups to discuss social issues are formed and the same kind of group criticism method is used to mold the proper Communist response to such issues. However it is not enough to simply agree to and portray the Communist values, because that would be dishonest. They are, “ ‘thought sick’ and could not be cured unless we came out with wrong thoughts.”  A pattern of self and group criticism develops by which ‘thought problems’ are expected to be spontaneously expressed and one must openly examine their early life to determine the cause.  ‘Genuine’ emotional involvement is a constant pressure as the group challenges the confessor with accusations that he is “ ‘spreading a smoke screen (using special phrases actions and attitudes to hide true inner feelings) and ‘window dressing’ (doing as much as is needed to get by without giving oneself fully to the program). They also routinely accuse the prisoner of ‘opportunism’, or of ‘finding a loophole’, ‘assuming an appearance’, ‘failing to combine theory with practice’, ‘forming alliances’, ‘shielding one another’, or ‘buying good will with food’ – that is attempting to win favor by friendly overtures.”

These study sessions include moral criticism of daily life in the cell concerning how much water one drinks, how much sleeping space one takes up, taking too much time for a bowel movement. The cell group must be active in “solving problems” and any misbehavior must be confessed spontaneously. “A chief who is not sufficiently effective may be demoted and the other prisoners now have an opportunity to ‘struggle’ their former tormentor.”

Lifton goes on by conceptualizing the transformation of the prisoner as being a ‘Death and Re-birth’ process by which they “destroy all feelings of inner identity, of being a specific person, of belonging to a group.” Guilt and Confession become the path to re-birth and finally ‘re-birth’ is the process of re-education whereupon he must “live the principles of thought reform” and through his “interminable ‘group therapy’ he eventually finds himself thinking and feeling in terms of these ‘truths’.” His final thoughts impress the dissociating effects of thought reform and that most re-enter society deeply confused searching for answers to their experience, and only a small few maintained the attitudes impressed upon them by their captors.

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Since the Korean War great strides have been made in understanding the influences at play in such settings as the thought reform prison. We have developed a much more refined knowledge concerning the manipulation of human behavior in the fields of social psychology, group dynamics, organizational development, and now Human Relations Training or Sensitivity Training. The processes for individual and group change have gone beyond the crude schemata of the communists and have become a sophisticated science in our modern corporate society where understanding organizational growth and change is necessary. But do we need to be fearful that some organizations and institutions are taking advantage of and undermining the individual by using coercive methods? And, can Sensitivity Training be used by an organization to achieve the objectives like that of thought reform? As well, can it all be done completely covertly, without possibility for implication, under the guise of ‘therapy’?

In a National Training Laboratories manual ‘Issues in Training’, Edgar Schein writes a piece called ‘Management Development, Human Relations Training, and the Process of Influence’ which he begins with an editor’s note:

“Human Relations Training fits into a context of institutional influence procedures which includes coercive persuasion in the form of thought reform or brainwashing as well as a multitude of less coercive, informal patterns….”

He begins the paper with the stated purpose of discussing the problem of “how an organization can influence the beliefs, attitudes and values (herein simply called attitudes)of an individual for the purpose of “developing” him, i.e. changing him in a direction which the organization regards to be in his own and the organizations best interest.”  Schein directly compares Sensitivity Training and Lewin’s change process, Unfreezing Changing Re-freezing, to Communist thought reform. It can be seen how Lewin’s process could be superimposed upon Lifton’s analysis of the thought reform process as ‘death and rebirth’.

Schein says that attitude change cannot come about unless the individual is properly motivated to change. He identifies this motivation to be part of the ‘UNFREEZING’ process which is a basic disruption of a persons stable equilibrium by which there is an increased pressure to change and/or a lowering of resistance to change. CHANGING is the learning of new attitudes through either (a) identification and emulation of others who hold that attitude, or (b) internalization of self-adapted attitudes as a result of the unavoidable demands and confrontations faced in the situation. REFREEZING is the integration of the changed attitudes into the rest of the personality and significant ongoing relationships.

Some illustrations are given, beginning with the unfreezing process, which dissect and isolate the most influential factors. Most importantly is “the removal of the target person from those situations and social relationships which tended to confirm and reinforce the validity of the old attitudes, or self.” This he compares with communist thought reform in that one is cut off from family, friends, normal routines, outside information and communication. The prisoner’s life in the cell constantly invalidates him because, as his cellmates have confessed, and are committed to their own reform, they are also committed to reforming the lone newcomer.

Schein describes a basic Unfreezing model of social and cultural isolation, stimulating guilt and shame to help them see their old self as unworthy and motivate them to adopt new attitudes, and linking rewards and punishments directly with the willingness or unwillingness to embrace change. Once the subject is properly ‘motivated’ he is ready to begin the Changing process.

In the Changing phase Schein describes the adopting of new attitudes by the Western prisoner through the process of (a) identification with his more advanced cellmates. He writes, “In the group cell, it was the discovery by the Western prisoner that his Chinese cellmates were human beings like himself, were rational and yet completely believed in their own and his guilt, which forced him to re-examine his own premises and bases of judgment and led him the first step down the path of acquiring the communist point of view.” Another illustration of this points to the training of a nun in a convent using a buddy or “big brother” system. The relevance to Training groups in organizations is given.

  “In most buddy systems, the buddy is someone who has himself gone through the training program in the recent past. If the target is likely to mistrust the influence attempts of the organization   – as might be the case in a management- sponsored Training program for labor or in a therapy program for delinquents in a reformatory – it is even more important that the influence agent be perceived as similar to the target.”  

In (b) Internalization the new attitudes may not be a direct mimicking of the attitudes of others. The system, or organization someone is held under may tolerate for a certain variety of attitudes within it of which are naturally learned. Such a situation will indirectly face one with their own prejudices naturally in such a culture clash and certain changes in attitude will come about as insight, insofar as what personality changes will make life more tolerable for him.

Finally in Re-freezing Schein explores the difference in creating temporary change versus lasting change and supports his reasoning with the long term results of thought reform prisons. He states that if the acquired attitude is made only through identification it will only persist as long as the influencing relationship exists. Only through internalization will the subject maintain the new attitude after leaving the thought reform environment. He stresses the overall need for organizations to maintain relationships that reinforce the training after exiting.  “Changes which may occur during a training program do not last unless there is some social support for the new attitudes in the back home situation.”

A pattern emerges that shows that attitude changes that are learned through direct coercive threats are simply surface changes that do not persist when the influencing agent leaves. In contrast, as in the case of Communist thought reform, the governors of the system may allow the learning and changes to occur indirectly by means of Identification with peers and cellmates. This kind of change is more permanent, but still requires a continuing relationship to re – indoctrinate him and motivate himself against his more deeply held beliefs and values. Finally, internalization represents lasting change wherein the change in attitude is perceived by the subject to be his own solution to his dilemma and is felt to be his own choice, coming to the conclusion through his own insight. (I will add the Double Bind as relevant to this finding viewtopic.php?f=80&t=30423 .) Schein says this model of Unfreezing, Changing and Re-freezing is best described as Coercive persuasion.

At this point Schein makes a transition from comparing Sensitivity Training with thought reform and begins describing the types of ways that an organization or corporation may covertly use such methods to “develop” people into those that better suit the organization. His basic prescription is for the company to hold a workshop or Human Relations Training laboratory accompanied by conditions that facilitate the Unfreezing, Changing, Re-freezing  process. What sounds suspiciously similar to a description of a corporate retreat also facilitates a coercive setting for ‘Unfreezing’ to take place.

 For this ‘workshop’ an isolated location is chosen. During this time, up to two weeks, communication is limited, one’s normal routine is broken, they are without family, and to share a room with a designated co-worker, a demanding schedule must be followed total involvement in the program is expected and intense pressure is placed on the individual to ‘examine himself’ based on feedback from the group and organization’s rational for change.  The workers’ status is naturally stripped amongst one another as they are equals in this new training exercise. All of this functions to ‘Unfreeze’ the individual and put him in a state of mind where he is ‘motivated’ to Change.

For the Change process he suggests that organizations design their Training experience with an appropriate balance of the influencing methods of Identification and Internalization. (It seems to be suggested that simply maintaining employees under a system of job rotation perpetuates a process of unfreezing and changing, or continuous Training.)

And finally, for the Re-freezing process, Schein maintains that “the organization must realize the reality that new attitudes cannot be carried by isolated individuals”.  He offers little hope for the organization to create lasting change without the continued support of those changes by his superiors, peers, and subordinates. However, the maintenance of this kind of group dynamic can lead to the organization being significantly more successful.

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There is still more to understanding the impact Sensitivity Training in the areas of therapy, rehabilitation and reform. The very concept of group therapy has deep roots in Sensitivity Training, and this influence should be considered in any encounter group therapeutic setting. The encounter group, aside from being a Training group, was also seen by many people to be a tool of genuine therapy. Many varying therapeutic styles, theories, and applications were developed based on this basic kind of encounter group made popular by Sensitivity Training. The new question that arises now is, is training therapy? And if so, can therapy actually be thought reform?

For this I will turn to Albert Biderman’s work, The Manipulation of Human Behavior. In it he explains that “ This book represents a critical examination of some of the conjectures about the application of scientific knowledge to the manipulation of human behavior. The problem is explored within a particular frame of reference: the interrogation of an unwilling subject. A number of scientific areas have figured prominently in speculations regarding the application of science to the manipulation of behavior in interrogation.”  It is written with particular respect to the Communist method of thought reform, however it goes quite a bit further in terms of areas of refinement. One must remember that in thought reform prisons the interrogation continued through different settings that each served a different function in the overall attitude change. Biderman makes a particularly interesting addition with the suggestion that the interrogator may further the cooperation of a prisoner by strategically adopting the role of therapist.

One other notable aspect of this book is that it makes a clear distinction that its emphasis is on extracting true information rather than simply satisfying the need of a false confession as in the case of Communist thought reform.  That said, it serves just as well to supply new techniques in the process of pressing a prisoner to display even more “genuine” characteristics to further refine the change in attitude. Biderman says, “The question of controlling fundamental attitudes and values may hold greater interest for many than our attention to the eliciting of guarded facts by interrogators. “ and “Several scientists have reported on the possible applications of scientific knowledge that might be made by the most callous interrogator or power. The results of their thinking are available here for anyone to use, including the unscrupulous.”

Biderman eloquently states the problem he is attempting to overcome.   “A system in which mental conformity is sought through coercion and manipulation embodies an ever-present fear on the part of the controllers that conformity will be based on opportunism rather than conviction.  In oppressive ideological systems, such as modern Communism, which demand  "true sincerity"   from their subjects rather than mere outward conformity, the inquisitorial process appears to be a natural development.   It is a difficult matter to determine whether thoughts are indeed "true thoughts." The inquisitorial process, being itself highly coercive, reinforces the original suspicion regarding opportunistic conformity. In a vicious circle, coercion is used to produce conformity, generating fears that the conformity produced is insincere, generating in turn further coercion to make it "sincere." The abhorrence of these practices by those subjected to them makes the fears of the controllers well founded and further reinforces the vicious circle.    Under these circumstances, the ultimate test of the loyalty and sincere devotion of the individual to the system is his acceptance of the inquisitorial process itself: the purge, coercion, confession, and the entire paraphernalia of enforced conversion…. One final test of loyalty demands that the prisoner act as though he hated himself with the intensity of the criminal definition which the system has placed upon him.”

How does one overcome this problem of determining whether or not the confession given in a coercive setting is in fact true or false? One important point, that I will only make small note of here, is for the interrogator to be skilled at lie detection through the monitoring of the subjects non-verbal behavior, such as breathing, eye patterns, facial and body gestures, even the use of an EEG. It can be useful to convince the subject that the lie detection is infallible to impress upon him a lesson of ‘honesty is the best policy’.  Biderman explores some harsh disturbing methods including pain, torture, dehydration, shock, hypothermia and starvation and as well as some more passive ones  such as isolation, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, sensory overload, and hypnosis. In all cases the purpose is to induce what he calls “brain fatigue” or “brain syndrome” which is to act upon the victim to lower their defenses and make them less able to withhold information. “Any circumstance that impairs the function of the brain potentially affects the ability to give information as well as the ability to withhold it.” He points out that brain fatigue can be brought about by purely depriving the brain of new information, possibly with a repetition or deprivation of stimulus, which marks the beginning of deteriorating brain function which will progress in a further and further loss of consciousness.

As can be seen the methods being discussed are very extreme, and so Biderman examines a crucial point that the brutal interrogation eventually leads up to. This is the point at which the victim resorts to what he calls ‘malingering’, or ‘the adoption of a deceptive role’ which is basically feigning symptoms that suggest he is compromised. What is to be identified as malingering may simply be any sort of antisocial or incompetent behavior. The pressure to produce truthful ‘sincere’ information through these exhausting methods, producing ‘brain fatigue’, on a deeply resistant subject who won’t or can’t provide the right answer can leave a subject with a realistic alternative of actually falling back on dysfunctional behavior. In a certain sense what is being described as an opportunistic display of mental failure or illness can be a realistic determinant of the subjects breaking point in the grueling interrogation process and such a display can be symbolic of the underlying potential for psychosis to fully develop as a result of progressing with the interrogation.  As Biderman points out this is a point of extreme dissociation for the subject, he is mentally divided trying to satisfy both his captors and himself, and at some point illness may be perceived as the only option to preventing his demise.

“He is occupying two positions simultaneously, and the role expectations of the one are not compatible with the other. As a loyal soldier he is expected by his country to withhold information which would aid the enemy. As a prisoner of war, the enemy expects him to reveal what he knows. As shown by Gullahorn (38), a person who is placed in a situation where incompatible demands are placed upon him because of his role relationships in two groups will try to retain both positions and find a way of satisfying them both. Toby (84) in his analysis of role conflict situations suggests that illness is an excuse by which a person in role conflict may avoid performing an obligation or duty of a role, without relinquishing the position and without suffering sanctions for failing to perform the duty. Thus illness, and particularly mental illness, would allow the prisoner to escape the role dilemma”

It is at this point that Biderman offers the interesting solution to this defensive ‘symptom’, for “it would seem that the rational interrogator is constrained to use his extensive power over the prisoner carefully, lest a real disorder be precipitated and the prisoner's potential value be lost completely.” The interrogator is to assume a sympathetic role of therapist in a way that challenges the commitment of the prisoner to uphold this possibly deceptive role, in which if he is caught lying will surely be met with intolerable punishment. In this way ‘therapy’ becomes a convenient way to avoid his deceptive cover from being exposed by being ‘cured’, and being cured relieves him from the punishment of ‘therapy’.

This indirect approach is advantageous in many ways because as each person has taken on different roles the game becomes vastly different. Now the prisoner is to accept treatment for his “illness” and expected to feel guilty for lying about his symptom,  taking advantage of and resisting the “sympathetic” attempts to rehabilitate his disorder. The ‘treatments’ that are given may be more grueling than the interrogation itself which may still facilitate ‘brain fatique’ (such as electroshock, pills), in fact it seems to enable the use of applications, such as hypnosis, to interrogation whereas the subject may be more compliant. The treatment is, of course, infallible and “guaranteed to bring about a cure”. This provides the prisoner with a chance to opportunistically malinger against his malingering without exposing it, and pretend to get well, or in the case of genuine disorders one might learn to cover up the symptoms to prove their recovery was ‘sincere’.  Upon recovery, of course, it will be understood that he is now in control of himself and his confession will now demand a flawless and ‘sincere’ display.  

Biderman clarifies that nothing can assure the prisoner will give up a specific piece of information, but only be more willing to, and that willingness is an attitude that can be molded to be more likely to produce a specific response. It seems unlikely that anyone could resist releasing secretive information in this situation, but in the case the confession being sought is in the realm of subjective reality, or non-existent, this becomes a particularly insidious development for the purpose of thought reform.

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If you have read this far you realize that Sensitivity Training has developed several layers, yet more can be revealed as the influence of Sensitivity Training inspired an exploration into its application in therapy. As Martin Lakin pointed out, Training groups were a major source of inspiration and innovation within the area of psychotherapy. As well, it proliferated greatly in the areas of self help and Humanistic psychiatry. It evolved to be used as a tool for creating various experiences or ‘experientials’ and termed to be a form of ‘therapy for normals’. Inevitably what occurs is a paradoxical use of Humanistic methods to manipulate and achieve behaviorist goals. Programs such as Est and Lifespring ... ring4.html mask themselves as personal growth workshops, yet were marketed to organizations to enhance worker performance. These influences made their way into reform institutions for drug addicts, such as Synanon, perhaps the most influential model for the therapeutic community and the Troubled Teen Industry, and also identified as a cult that is guilty of using extreme coercive methods in the name of ‘therapy’.

 In virtually every troubled teen program you will find this particular style of group therapy which serves as Training for the subjects. As described earlier, Sensitivity Training had the early purpose of solving organizational and management problems, and is used to ‘train’ new trainers who impart the appropriate attitude onto the next generation. In this type of ‘buddy’ system the process of therapy also serves to train the teen to act as therapist to the newcomer. The program assumes a similar position over the troubled teen, as did thought reform prisons, that they are sick and have problems, otherwise why would they have gotten sent there in the first place?

Behavior restrictions and rules will ensure that the newer students’ non-conformist behavior will be confronted and influenced by the upper level students while conformist behavior is rewarded with contact with peers on their level. Eventually conformity requires each student to monitor the actions of the others, particularly the groups on lower levels.  It is unfeasible to progress in the program without calling people on wrongdoings, no matter how subjective or menial the accusation may be. With the constant pressure to confess any wrongdoing whatsoever, it becomes a relief when witnessing or even being involved in some minor, or accidental infraction of the rules, such as brief eye contact or uncontrolled smile or laughter, when it is prohibited. There is always something to confess, and if it isn’t concerning an infraction of the rules It will concern ones lack of motivation to face and overcome their own problems to become ‘successful’, as defined by the programs doctrine. The doctrine is learned incrementally by the student as they move up phases in peer groups.  Many creative uses of tactics, similar to those used by Biderman to create brain fatigue, have been used in programs such as isolation, grueling and repetitive labor tasks, static and stress positions, and even sleep deprivation. Group therapy sessions may vary from a few hours to marathon sessions that can stretch over days.

I will not attempt to go into detail at this point regarding the kind of doctrine that one of these programs might want to prescribe except to say that this kind of group dynamics can also enforce a psychodynamic perspective of a mentally ‘healthy’ self concept. The training philosophy will focus on molding individual aspects of the whole personality that will most likely produce the desired attitude, although the patient’s own disclosures will be used to form a critical evaluation of himself that supports each lesson.  

A teen can be far more convinced of the integrity of such programs as this type of reform is interested in an outward image of ‘helping’ the teen examine himself and understand  his inherent psychological problems rather than obtaining concrete facts about a crime.  It is far less easy to be sure of ‘why you are the way you are’ than to be sure of specific events that have taken place in your life, and even harder to prove to others.  Similar to Bidermans conceptualization, a troubled teen program will typically associate delinquent behavior as being the result of more deep seated psychological issues. These issues are many times the focus of interrogation and confession in the therapeutic setting . It is not just the behavior that needs to be reformed, but the ‘root cause’ must also be addressed and ‘worked on’ by the teen.  Another common feature of the training is the focus on completely open expression of ‘here and now’ feelings. Even if the interrogation itself is the source of discomfort, those feelings are expected to be shared before the group, otherwise they are labeled ‘closed off’, ‘hiding’ or a ‘look good’.  Overcoming delinquent behavior also serves as justification that one has dealt with their past issues. The confessions, or disclosures are elicited in a context that presumes trust and openness,  and often guided toward  revealing past instances of trauma, shame, or negative feelings of self worth. These unresolved painful, or shameful past disclosures are eventually linked as the cause for their current undesirable behavior and attitude. Resolving issues can require a cathartic purge to rid them of the affliction, such as genuine displays of sorrow for a family member who had died.  Again, it is not to be seen as though they are bringing up disclosures as a punishment, the teen is to believe in the philosophy and be actively involved in rehabilitating themselves. These disclosures build up, and ones true feelings of those events are distorted to support the case against their ‘old self’ and they have changed with the programs help, which will become the final testimony of the teen when they graduate and their parents take them home.   Often times contracts with the teen and follow up measures are implemented to reinforce the new attitude at home.

What has been described is far from a complete description of the inner workings of programs, but hopefully this gives some insight into the ways thought reform has evolved through sensitivity training to be used as therapy for troubled teens.

The Troubled Teen Industry / ? is Abuse in the Troubled Teen Industry
« on: September 22, 2010, 09:11:10 PM »
Can anyone help me find information that defines what 'abuse' consists of in our current ethical standards for these programs? Any resources would be helpful.

As well I want to know if you (those who were in a program) experienced something particular that you felt was abusive that may or may not be part of the accepted ethical standards for what is abuse.  

For those who were forced through a program and not given the choice I believe it is your right to be part of defining abuse as the environment disqualified ones free expression.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Program Haiku: How was it for you?
« on: September 17, 2010, 09:58:47 PM »
I’m curious what would happen if those who experience a program could express it in a Haiku, Japanese poem. It is a very simplistic form of 17 syllables used in 3 phrases. The first phrase is 5 syllables, the second 7, and the third 5 syllables. That’s it. Here’s mine.


They told me the gems     (5 syllables)
Were down deep, but reachable  (7)

Long dark hole, no gems  (5)



.. :flip: ?


Get ready for you Friday night horror flick. This is guaranteed to be more disturbing than any insane asylum horror movie you’ve ever seen. This is a real look into an institution for the criminally insane in the 60’s, and it will be stomach turning at times. (I have added a history and commentary below that I find relevant to the troubled teen programs by Thomas Szasz concerning the issue of Therapeutic Censorship in the institution.)

If you don’t think you can handle watching scenes of depravity, inhumanity, and bizarre circumstances in which the people are held under in this film… don’t watch…..

Titicut Follies :    Frederick Wiseman ... 009864980#

Therapeutic Censorship (and Titicut Follies): Thomas Szasz ... ensorship/

……. we in the United States take for granted the government’s right, indeed its duty, to prohibit persons from expressing opinions deemed to be the products of “mental illness.” An American has the right to deny the Holocaust but not the right to deny his identity and declare he is Jesus. The person who does that is diagnosed as having schizophrenia, being “dangerous to himself and others,” and incarcerated in a “hospital.” This type of deprivation of liberty is not considered a violation of the First Amendment because psychiatric commitment is defined as a civil, not criminal, procedure, its ostensible purpose being therapy not punishment.
This is familiar territory. Much less familiar is an episode in which organized psychiatry was responsible for a different kind of limitation of free speech, one I call “therapeutic censorship.”

The Titicut Follies

In the 1960s, documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman received permission to film for 29 days inside the Bridgewater State Hospital, a Massachusetts institution for the criminally insane. The movie he made there—his first documentary—was shown to great acclaim at the New York Film Festival in 1967. The Massachusetts attorney general proceeded to bar public screenings, and the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the movie constituted an invasion of the privacy of the Bridgewater guards and patients. The film was banned……..

….. [It] is the only American film ever censored for reasons other than obscenity or national security.

Dehumanization of Mad Persons

The Titicut Follies, unlike One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was a unique film. It depicted in gripping pictorial detail the psychiatric invalidation, persecution, and dehumanization of so-called mad persons at the hands of so-called mental-health professionals. For that offense, the American psychiatric establishment, assisted by the American legal establishment, banned the showing of the film. This unique violation of the First Amendment has escaped both legal and psychiatric attention……..

In the old days of insane asylums, the truth about psychiatry was apparent: the madhouse was a snake pit, and snake pits were limited to insane asylums. Today’s snake pits—dispersed throughout society—are concealed by a façade of pseudomedical diagnoses, therapies, treatment-advocacy centers, alliances for the mentally ill, and the renaming of insane asylums as “health care facilities.”

The Troubled Teen Industry / Civil discussion: Troubled Teen Industry
« on: July 13, 2010, 01:16:34 PM »
Civil discussion about the Troubled Teen Industry

Weird huh? I just thought I’d see how it goes.

This thread is for holding discussions about the Troubled Teen Industry in a CIVIL manner, please only participate if you are willing to do so.

I’ll offer my thoughts ….   There are too few standards in the industry to ethically justify it’s operation.

Elan School / Does ELAN mean Early Left Anterior Negativity?
« on: July 01, 2010, 09:25:06 PM »
Awhile ago this term, Early Left Anterior Negativity (ELAN), was given in connection with the meaning of the ‘ELAN’ program.  While the truth may never be known, I just find extremely coincidental, So I’m reposting it to see if it hits a note with those who were there (I wasn’t, but I get a familiar feeling).

So, before you read, I want to ask those from Elan, in your experience did the program seem to impose unexpected interruptions, perhaps setup routines only to  impede on it once it became an expectation, to keep preventing you from getting used to a pattern of activity, and maybe even teaching that the ideal paradigm is adopting a pattern of not being able to rely on regularity?   ….. Here’s the repost

Quote from: "Whooter"
Maybe this question?:
Quote from: "Eliscu2"

Do you think Elan is funny?

I don’t think Elan is funny but I do find it ironic that the school is named Elan.  My understanding of the word is quite different than others.  Elan is also a neurological event.  Consider this phrase for a moment:

I was rejected vs. I was “in” rejected.  By inserting the word “in” into the sentence it produces a stimuli "Early left anterior negativity"(ELAN) which stops the brain from understanding the sentence because it doesn’t make sense.  This abrupt stoppage of the brain is what causes the ELAN.  Eventually your brain will adapt.  But it will adapt to something different.

In understanding language the brain steps thru as follows:
1.   Group of individual words
2.   Word order
3.   Spoken words (orally or thru thought)
4.   Then understanding. (cognitive thought)

If you screw with the “word order” then the brain emits an ELAN (Neurological response) and the brain cannot move forward with its processing of the sentence and is subsequently derailed.  Word order is a prerequisite to understanding and relying on the rules.

Maybe this was the underlying premise of the school? To change the way you view the world thru constant manipulation of the rules until the broken rules feel normal.  Once the brain is in a state of ELAN there is a very short window of opportunity to alter its perception and to have it follow a new set of rules.  These rules may or may not be consistent with the rules society has defined as normal.

Something to think about.


I think there’s something to this Whooter. Early Left Anterior Negativity (ELAN) has it’s roots in Neurolinguistics and describes a disruption that occurs in the brain when expected rules are broken. Elan is also identified as a certain brainwave pattern that occurs in the anterior cingulate, which is an error detection wave.

The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is the frontal part of the cingulate cortex, that resembles a "collar" form around the corpus callosum, the fibrous bundle that relays neural signals between the right and left cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

It makes sense that Early Left Anterior Negativity comes out of neurolinguistics because it shares the same characteristics as the “pattern interrupt technique” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming ( I posted this on NLP a little while ago    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30591 ). And not at all unrelated to NLP is the area of hypnosis that makes use of brain lateralization as a core part of the process. The basic concept is to depotentiate the left brain, that is the cognitive ‘thinking’ side  associated with consciousness (with fixation, exhaustion and confusion), and stimulate the right brain, which is the creative, affective side. Hypnosis would also move from  anterior to posterior brain lateralization as the posterior part is associated with past events versus the anterior which is focused on the present. You are likely to find that the common model for hypnosis is FIXATE ATTENTION, BYPASS THE CONSIOUS MIND, STIMULATE THE UNCONSCIOUS.

It would not surprise me at all to find that the name ELAN was chosen to symbolize the depotentiating of ones critical faculty.  This is a very interesting connection and there’s ample evidence to think it might be the case because when you look into it you find,

“A Working Model of the Neurophysiology of Hypnotic Relaxation


Fronto-Limbic Supervisory Attentional System.We went on to examine evidence of frontal inhibition in the context of a model of a supervisory attentional system which involves the frontal lobes and limbic system (Posner & Peterson, 1990; Shallice & Burgess, 1991). This system monitors ongoing activity and modulates behaviour in response to novelty, as in orienting, and when environmental stimuli convey conflicting information…..

The error detection wave has been localised to a midline anterior cingulate generator (Dehaene et al, 1994), a promising candidate for involvement in hypnosis. The anterior cingulate performs executive functions which have been subdivided into affective and cognitive components (Devinsky et al, 1995). The cognitive executive component is involved in response selection in advance of any movement and in cognitively demanding information processing such as Stroop interference, localised by blood flow imaging and lesion studies to the anterior cingulate. The affective executive functions are involved in regulation of autonomic and endocrine functions, assessment of motivational context and significance of sensory stimuli and emotional valence. These are mediated through extensive connections with the amygdala and periaqueductal grey and autonomic brainstem nuclei. Our results have indicated that the monitoring of motor performance carried out by the cognitive executive component remained intact, for the error detection wave and RTs were unchanged by hypnosis. Rather the affect system involving connections with the rostral limbic system including the amygdala would appear to be unresponsive with hypnosis, as shown by the absence of the error evaluation wave and apparently motivational influences on performance. This interpretation is also in keeping with the reduced electrodermal orienting activity reflecting a reduction in excitatory modulatory influences of the amygdala. Dissociation between cognitive and affective anterior cingulate executive systems would explain the increase in the Stroop interference effect with hypnosis.

Left Anterior Inhibition. There is evidence that anterior inhibition may be laterally asymmetrical and biased towards the left hemisphere in hypnosis. This was disclosed by measuring right and left hemisphere processing times with a haptic object sorting task in two studies (Gruzelier et al, 1984).

In summary there was further evidence of a selectivity of neurophysiological action of hypnosis shown through examination of anterior inhibitory influences:- 1) the dissociation between error detection and error evaluation waves; 2) the left lateralised influences on haptic processing and the improvement in right-sided processing that was specific to the active-alert induction; 3) the specificity within the left hemisphere for the effects on verbal fluency which were restricted to letter and not semantic designated categories; 4) the localisation of the changes in EEG coherence to within the left frontal lobe; 5) the restriction of the EEG coherence changes to the high alpha band. ... 4/two.html

Cognitive Neuroscience Theory

Cognitive Neuroscience based theories of hypnosis explain hypnotic phenomenon patterns of brain activity. One researcher, John Gruzelier, used EEG data to show that hypnosis is characterized by a shift in brain activity from anterior (front) to posterior (back).  Other research shows increased activity on the right side of the brain, and decreased activity on the left, and more specifically changes in activity in certain areas of brain associated things like verbal skills.

In hypnosis
there is an inhibition of frontal functions, more so
on the left side than the right, and when the aim is
to induce relaxation with hypnosis, there is an
accentuation of posterior functions, greater in the
right hemisphere. ... /4/313.pdf



Many studies in neurolinguistics take advantage of anomalies or violations of syntactic or semantic rules in experimental stimuli, and analyzing the brain responses elicited when a subject encounters these violations. For example, sentences beginning with phrases such as *the garden was on the worked,[45] which violates an English phrase structure rule, often elicit a brain response called the early left anterior negativity (ELAN).[36] Violation techniques have been in use since at least 1980,[36] when Kutas and Hillyard first reported ERP evidence that semantic violations elicited an N400 effect.[46] Using similar methods, in 1992, Lee Osterhout first reported the P600 response to syntactic anomalies.[47] Violation designs have also been used for hemodynamic studies (fMRI and PET): Embick and colleagues, for example, used grammatical and spelling violations to investigate the location of syntactic processing in the brain using fMRI.[20] Another common use of violation designs is to combine two kinds of violations in the same sentence and thus make predictions about how different language processes interact with one another; this type of crossing-violation study has been used extensively to investigate how syntactic and semantic processes interact while people read or hear sentences

Early left anterior negativity ... negativity

The early left anterior negativity (commonly referred to as ELAN) is an event-related potential in electroencephalography (EEG), or component of brain activity that occurs in response to a certain kind of stimulus. It is characterized by a negative-going wave that peaks around 200 milliseconds or less after the onset of a stimulus,[1][2] and most often occurs in response to linguistic stimuli that violate word-category or phrase structure rules (as in *the in room instead of in the room).[3][4][5] As such, it is frequently a topic of study in neurolinguistics experiments, specifically in areas such as sentence processing. While it is frequently used in language research, there is no evidence yet that it is necessarily a language-specific phenomenon.

To summarize the three important ERP (event related potential)-components: First of all there occurs the ELAN at the left frontal lobe which shows a violation of syntactical rules. After it follows the N400 in central and paritial areas as a reaction to a semantical incorrectness and finally there occurs a P600 in the paritial area which probably means a reanalysis of the wrong sentence. ... prehension ”.

…… So just wondering if any of you think it is plausible that the name ELAN refers to an experience of habitually breaking patterns?, in your experience.


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