Apologetics Index

Category: Brainwashing

Ideological totalism: “Isn’t this just like brainwashing?”

"Where totalism exists, a religion, a political movement, or even a scientific organization becomes little more than an exclusive cult," Dr. Robert Jay Lifton writes.

A discussion of what is most central in the thought reform environment can thus lead us to a more general consideration of the psychology of human zealotry. For in identifying, on the basis of this study of thought reform, features common to all expressions of ideological totalism, I wish to suggest a set of criteria against which any environment may be judged -- a basis for answering the ever-recurring question: "Isn't this just like "brainwashing"?"

Brainwashing and Mind Control in Religious Cults and Elsewhere

Used of cults, "brainwashing" or "mind control" refers to the unethical use of persuasion methods with the aim of recruiting people into joining or remaining involved with a group, movement, or cause.

Also referred to as Mind Control. Sociologists, cult experts and others are sharply divided on this contentious issue. Some see brainwashing as a plausible explanation of why people join and remain in cults. Others call it "junk science."

Not surprisingly, brainwashing theories are hotly contested by cult sympathizers.