Erik Linstrum discusses his research on the complex role played by psychologists in the British Empire. How did the science of subjectivity which emerged in the twentieth century — the apparatus of mental tests, talking cures, and other techniques for measuring, exploring, and managing minds — matter to imperial rule?
Kira Lussier, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, discusses a recent New York Times article on Amazon employees, placing its critique within the history of how motivational psychology has been used in the workplace.
Asylum, Peter Robinson’s 1972 documentary about one of R.D. Laing’s residential ‘clinics’, has just been released on DVD. Katie Joice reviews the film in the context of both Laing’s therapeutics and current debates on mental illness.
Artificial Intelligence, Orientalism, totalitarianism, brainwashing, and the counter-culture: all these themes, and more, were deftly woven together by the historian of science, Simon Schaffer in a memorable lecture delivered at an engaging conference on cinema, Cold War and mind control which took place earlier this year. This event was organised by the Hidden Persuaders Project in partnership with the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, and held on 3-4 July 2015.
Prof. Robert Jay Lifton speaks about ‘thought reform’ in religious cults, and his study of veterans of the Vietnam War, in this final instalment of his interview with Daniel Pick.
A still from the film Obedience (1962), a production by the psychologist Stanley Milgram made in the course of his ‘Obedience to Authority’ experiments at Yale University. It is now widely believed that these experiments could not be recreated today due to ethical guidelines established by psychologists in 1973. By Laura Stark ‘I… Read more »
In early 2016 the Hidden Persuaders project will advertise a post-doctoral research position to be based at Birkbeck College, University of London. The position will begin in September 2016 and continue for three years. Watch this blog for additional information about this opportunity, and to keep up to date with the work and development of… Read more »
In April 2014, Daniel Pick sat down with Robert Jay Lifton for a wide-ranging discussion about Prof. Lifton’s life and research. In this third installment from that interview, Prof. Lifton speaks about his experiences during the Korean War as a psychiatrist serving in the US Air Force. Lifton describes how he spent his… Read more »
The American Psychological Association’s Independent Review on ethics, national security and torture—in historical context By Marcie Holmes The Hidden Persuaders project studies the history of ‘brainwashing’ and other forms of mind control as they relate to the expertise and status of the psy professions during the Cold War. Our inquiries here chart important chapters… Read more »
Image: Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (dir. Fritz Lang 1922) In July 2015, the Hidden Persuaders project and the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image hosted a workshop, Brainwash: History, Cinema and the Psy Professions. Birkbeck graduate and video essayist Ian Magor presented several of his recent pieces at the event. These works comment on… Read more »