Despite his influence on Cold War pop-cultural, and countercultural, discussions about the brain, Grey Walter was curiously reticent on the subject of ‘brainwashing’. Andreas Killen shows how, nevertheless, Walter’s work played a key role in debates about mind control.
‘Psychic driving’ is a Cold War-era technology for reprogramming the mind that has a sordid history. David Saunders reports on its continuing appeal.
Alexandra Hui describes an early example of our cultural ambivalence about background music. In 1958 a journalist asked: does it make us happy, even when we would prefer not to be?
Aline Rubin reminds us that there have been harrowing points of intersection between psychoanalysis and political oppression, particularly in Brazil. Scholars of psychoanalysis have only begun to reckon with this challenging history.
Erika Dyck discusses the legacies of LSD’s Cold War reputation, and the implications for the recent renaissance in ‘psychedelic science’.
To what extent did the events of the Cold War alter the methods, aims and spaces of interrogation? How might this history intersect with developments in the ‘psy’ sciences? In July 2016, the Hidden Persuaders project hosted a workshop on these questions.
Danae Karydaki explains why, in our age of ‘post-truth politics’, George Orwell’s essays are now more relevant than ever.
Can comic books negatively condition children’s behavior? In the 1950s that question provoked a furore, when the psychiatrist Frederic Wertham alleged comics had serious, deleterious effects. Dennis Doyle, who teaches history at St Louis College of Pharmacy, explores the story.
Mary Augusta Brazelton explains how one of the first scandals involving ‘Communist brainwashing’ also serves as an entry point for understanding how the Chinese Communist Party used biomedical expertise to consolidate its political power at home.
Professor Frederic Migrayrou presents a history on the diverse techniques used by psychologists, artists and designers to subvert, excavate, reshape and reformat ‘the mind design.’ Using light, sound, drugs, hypnosis, architecture and psychotherapy, these practitioners concocted a plethora of far-out experiments aimed at altering consciousness. In this lecture Migayrou explores this colourful history and the many objects left behind in its wake.