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.
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.
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.
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.
Maria Hadjiathanasiou explores the little-known propaganda conflict that took place between British imperial powers and insurgent nationalists in post-war Cyprus.
Hannah Proctor looks afresh at the methodologies of a key Sovietological study, The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System, and uncovers the surprising ways that anxieties and assumptions about totalitarianism structured social scientific research.
“We are tightly wrapped in a spider net of electronic surveillance”… deliberately confused by “an incessant flow of dismembered and dislocated fragments” (Zygmunt Bauman on brainwashing, surveillance, and modern society).* In July 2015 Daniel Pick interviewed Zygmunt Bauman on the subject of brainwashing. His wide ranging responses travel from the Cold War to the virtual… Read more »
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?