Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mind Control and Coercive Psychological Systems

by Kevin J. Crosby

Table of contents
Reading through email spam or the classified advertisements in a progressive newspaper, one may find offers for everything from assertiveness training1 to sexual domination hypnosis2 to computer software designed to flash brief messages on the screen with the goal of quitting smoking or losing weight.3 These are just a few of the many household Mind Control products marketed today promising that their simple tricks will allow anyone to be master of their domain. While the efficacy of these programs is debatable, the science behind them is very real.
The basics of Mind Control are as ancient as mankind itself. Convincing someone to adopt an idea or perform a task is commonplace in every family. As a result, children begin learning skills of persuasion at an early age. Kids may rationalize, peer pressure, beg, bribe, bully, guilt, or resort to any number of other tactics including blackmail and all out violent assault in order to get their way. An increasing number of teens and young adults are starting to hone these skills in order to control family, friends and coworkers.
"Flicking through some of the saner sections of neuro-linguistic programming texts (minus the new age content) brings up the subtle use of language and body-language to influence other people," states United Kingdom Defense Contractor "Mom" in personal correspondence. One method of this technique is through "mirroring" 4 the actions and words of the other person, which Mom explains:
Mirroring fosters a sense of ease or trust. Courting couples tend to do this intuitively (watch dating couples and see how they mirror things like sipping coffee, taking a bite of food, etc.) but it can be used as a way of making the mirrored party susceptible to persuasion. By doing the opposite to mirroring, the other party can be made ill-at-ease and be less amenable to persuasion (basically it rubs them up the wrong way).
Mom points out entertainer Derren Brown5 whose website reveals that he "can seemingly predict and control human behavior. He doesn't claim to be a mind-reader, instead he describes his craft as a mixture of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship." Brown "primes" his audience members using subtle clues to respond in predetermined ways. The effect is dramatic.
This phenomenon may be found in simpler form per a circulating email that has the reader calculate the number six several times then asks for a vegetable. It claims 98% of readers will choose carrot. Mom also notes a Mind Control game that primes players based upon their personality: conformists will end up visualizing one image (e.g., an elephant in Denmark) while nonconformists will see another (e.g., an emu in Dubai).

Related links

1 Assertiveness Training Websites, The Online Self Improvement Community, at (retrieved: 3 January 2011).
2 Sexual Domination Hypnosis, Google search, at (retrieved: 3 January 2011).
3 Subliminal Software - Subliminal Messages & Self Hypnosis Software!,, at (retrieved: 3 January 2011).
4 Mirroring (psychology),, at (retrieved: 3 January 2011).
5 Derren Brown, at (retrieved: quoted March 2006; 3 January 2011).

Related videos

thaflash1988, "Derren Brown - Subliminal Advertising," video at, (retrieved: 4 January 2011). (Embedding disabled)

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