BITE model of Mind Control

Cult expert Steven Hassan has developed the so-called BITE model to help people understand mind control.

Hassan says that one of the things that helped him get out of the Moon cult (the Unification Church) in 1976 was the work of Robert Jay Lifton.

Lifton, a military intelligence psychiatrist in the 1950s, studied Chinese communist brainwashing techniques. He wrote a landmark book called Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘brainwashing’ in China in which he outlines eight methods used to change people’s minds without their agreement.

Hassan says Lifton’s book was critical to helping understand what had happened to him in terms of his recruitment into the Moonies and their indoctrination methods.

See these videos in which Dr. Robert Jay Lifton talks with Steven Hassan about these and other issue.

Based on Lifton’s model of thought control, Hassan developed his BITE model:



Destructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basic components, which form the acronym BITE:

  • Behavior Control
  • Information Control
  • Thought Control
  • Emotional Control

It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause.

It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mind controlled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently. – Source: Mind Control – The BITE Model, Steve Hassan, Freedom of Mind

For the complete model, see this article on the Freedom of Mind web site.

The model is further explained and placed in context in Steven Hassan’s book, “Releasing The Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves.”

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This post was last updated: Nov. 17, 2017    
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