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.
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.
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.
We interviewed cognitive neuropsychologist Tim Shallice about the ‘Five Techniques’ of enhanced interrogation used by British agents in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, and their association with scientific research on sensory deprivation.
Dr. Albert Mason talks to Marcia Holmes about his career in medical hypnotism and psychoanalysis, and describes his experiences as scientific consultant for The Ipcress File film and testing for ESP with Arthur Koestler.
Earlier this year, Daniel Pick and Paul Preston recorded their conversation about the rediscovery of Alfonso Laurencic, a designer of highly unusual prison cells during the Spanish Civil War. Inspired by their discussion, Carl-Henrik Bjerstrom, delves into the circumstances surrounding the creation of these cells and the scandals that followed.