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Psychology | Digital brainwashing


We tend to think of spies getting caught when we think about brain washing. The idea was to control the spy, change what they believed and turn them against their own country. The enemy in war is often demonised by governments and the media. They use brainwashing techniques to describe the ‘enemy’ calling them the ‘reds’ or the ‘yellow peril’ or worse. They portray the enemy as inhuman. The reality is quite different, so the spy is confused when he’s caught.

Those brainwashing techniques are quite complex, but the spy will be expecting to be treated badly, even tortured. He has been led to believe this by his own government and by the media in his own country. So when he is treated badly, but not as badly as he expects; he is quite relieved. They are even nice to him, bringing him food and reassuring him. There is an underlying message to all this though. They are providing him with proof that his own country lies. His own country doesn’t care.  If they really cared they would do everything in their power to get him released and returned home. These messages to undermine his confidence in his own country and government are repeated over and over again. He is asked questions and given a rational to believe, that becomes more and more acceptable. It becomes acceptable, because his own people did lie to him, they did demonise the enemy.

We get repetitive messages all the time, through all kinds of media. We reject many, because we see the message as coming from the ‘enemy’ or from an unreliable source. Some of those messages seem to be in our best interests. Some people seem to care about us. Important people seem to care about us or at least people like us and so deserve our support. These messages tend to unify a population. If some new pop star is trending in the media, then young people might become fans. The pop star will have millions of fans and that is a unifying influence, it gives young people something in common. They might become fans of different pop idols, but just becoming fans gives them something in common and so unifies a large segment of the population.

These messages that brainwash us into particular beliefs are now digital, computer generated and the computers are collecting information on us. The messages are not aimed at groups of individuals, but at us as individuals. This is a new kind of brainwashing, it’s targeted and so far more effective. It can make us slaves to the people that control society, so we do their bidding.

Punishments and rewards are an important part of brainwashing. Not just physical rewards like food or money, but psychological rewards, in the form of praise. The use of tokens as a form of praise is very effective such as a gold star when a child does a acceptable essay or brownie points, medals and other awards. These offer position in the group, community or  society. Do as the brainwashing instructs and you can have a medal, a knighthood or even a peerage. Well actually, you might have to settle for Tesco Club Card points…

How do you know if you’re being brainwashed? Write down your favourite TV programs, your favourite foods, your favourite brand names. What do you have? Long lists, short lists or no list at all?

Yes, I know you really like Starbucks coffee. It has nothing to do with the branding, the advertising or the psychological rewards when you go to spend your money there.

We all all brainwashed by the media and now it’s being targeted on you. Some people resist it. Do you? Anyway, I must finish now, some hot babe checked out my profile on Facebook and wants to meet me. We can all dream…

What do you think? Please share you views and ideas in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter

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