Positive Effects Of Brainwashing

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The effects of brainwashing have been critically assessed to see how effective it is in being able to convert someones beliefs, values, faith, or even their political views. Brainwashing, it has been said, is used in different cultural societies and different social groups usually to gain new members to a particular following, There is still debate whether brainwashing holds any scientific merit, as it has been exaggerated and exploited throughout the years by different organisations. Because brainwashing has an effect on processes of the mind it’s difficult, if not impossible, to measure. Throughout this essay, the ways in which brainwashing is and has been used will be discussed, analysing whether it holds any scientific merit, or if brainwashing…show more content…
McConnell (1975) said that brainwashing techniques, if successful, used similar methods to those used in operant conditioning. During operant conditioning, the likelihood of a behaviour can be increased by the use of reinforcement and rewards. Similar techniques will be used during brainwashing. In order for brainwashing to have en effect, the brainwasher, or the agent, must have complete, utmost control of the brainwashee, or the target. This way the target has a complete dependence on the agent for their needs to be satisfied. Another technique is the agent structurally breaks down the targets identity, i.e., their beliefs, values, behaviours and opinions. Once that is successful, they will replace their old beliefs with new beliefs and behaviours; the beliefs and behaviours they believe is correct. There are other definitions of brainwashing that says brainwashing need the existence of physical harm, or at least, the threat of it. Other definitions also say that non-physical coercion is more effective in asserting influence. In the paper Proselytizing Techniques and Inoculation Against Brainwashing: Lessons for Psychotherapy (Ilevbare, Ilevbare and Idehen, 2013), they say that some psychologists believe that under the correct conditions, brainwashing is possible. Brainwashing is an interest in social…show more content…
McConnell (1975) also argues how brainwashing is not particularly efficient. In reference to the Chinese uses of brainwashing, he explains how isolation can play a big part in behavioural change. During their imprisonment, prisoners would not be allowed contact with any other prisoners. This was to prevent any resistance to the propaganda by using social support from others. It could be argued that the change in their beliefs was so that they could be released back into society and be free of their segregation. In other examples of brainwashing, in Nigeria, politicians and military personnel have used brainwashing techniques to change people’s views and opinions of political parties. This approach would be used by the politicians of the parties in order to “buy” votes and support using manipulation, usually through incentives such as money. It could be argued in these particular examples, people would change their beliefs out of fear, or through bribery, rather than actually have been coerced into completely changing their beliefs. This therefore further proves that brainwashing is a pseudoscience, because although the individuals changed their opinions, there is no way of knowing that it was in fact long term. Experts also believe that even under the perfect conditions for brainwashing, the effects of the whole procedure are still only short
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