Six brainwashing techniques and the decognition process

July 15, 2006

Persuasion and Brainwashing Techniques Being Used on the Public Today is a fascinating article by Dick Sutphen about, well, how persuasion and brainwashing techniques are being used on the public today by religious organizations, the military, human-potential organizations, and the media.

It’s a long article so I’ll paraphrase the six techniques here:

  1. Isolation: the meeting or training takes place in a place where participants are cut off from the outside world. This often involves making a public commitment to stay during the training. When training takes place in isolation like this, there is usually a quick follow-up session to ensure that the technique has really taken hold.
  2. Fatigue: a schedule is maintained that ensures physical and mental fatigue. This means long hours, few breaks, and very little time for relaxing or reflection.
  3. Tension: techniques are used to increase tension in the group. For example, perhaps there are a few truisms thrown around that might make you feel like you are doing something wrong. Or that you are a sinner, or depressed, or generally unhappy.
  4. Uncertainty: people are randomly put on the spot. Forced to withdraw into anger, fear, or awe. Revivalist churches and human-potential seminars include asking people to come on stage and talk about humiliating or weak moments in their lives. This withdrawn, fearful, state, makes you many times more susceptible to suggestions as your guard is down and you are looking for safety and reassurance in whatever form it takes.
  5. Jargon: new language to talk about what’s going on. It could help label the “enemy”, whether it be ignorant people, people who aren’t yet enlightened, or evil people. Also, new language to talk about people who are “fixed”: either enlightened, saved, or healed.
  6. Humorlessness: there’s no humor involved until the process is complete. The humor then serves as a way to celebrate and seal the deal.

A couple other techniques can be used in addition to help the effects become more pronounced. These three steps are called the “decognition process” as they help slow down and eventually stop thinking altogether.

  1. Alertness Reduction: one part of this is to force participants to keep a poor diet: either lots of sugar, or very bland foods. Sugar throws your nervous system off. A very bland diet (usually fruits and vegetables and no dairy or meat) will make you more spacey. Another part is inadequate sleep after long hours of intense discomfort or strenuous physical activity.
  2. Programmed Confusion: a deluge of new information, combined with questions, discussion groups, and one-to-one create a sense of jumbled-ness that make it easier to insert crazy ideas.
  3. Thought Stopping: most of these brainwashing techniques encourage stopping your thoughts in one of three ways. All three processes can be very helpful if you are controlling the process. The only danger comes when you allow someone else who you don’t fully know the motives of to take you through these steps and slowly alter deep beliefs about yourself and the world.
    1. Marching to a beat, usually at around 1 or 1.5 steps per second, is particularly useful. Both the military and Hitler used this to great effect. The beat puts you in a slightly altered state of awareness that is close to hypnosis and makes you more susceptible to suggestions.
    2. Meditation is the second form of thought stopping. An hour to an hour and a half of meditation a day for several weeks is enough to keep you in a constant “slow” state that is more focused and susceptible to suggestions (both good and bad).
    3. Chanting is the third form of thought stopping, and has the same general technique as marching. The beat helps put you in a slightly different state of awareness.

The full article really is pretty interesting, and goes more in depth about things like persuasion, misuses in the media and by the government, and some cautions.

Link to the full article [via Omni Brain]

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One Response to “Six brainwashing techniques and the decognition process”


  1. […] by Passive Programming Written by Learners Inherit the Earth on April 22, 2008 – 11:23 am – Radical Mutual-Improvement paraphrases an article called Persuasion & Brainwashing Techniques Being Used On The Public […]


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