‘Enhanced Interrogation’ in the Spanish Civil War: the Curious Case of Alfonso Laurencic

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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.

Zygmunt Bauman on Brainwashing

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“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 »

The Manchurian Automaton

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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.

Critical Incidents: Laura Stark on APA Ethics Policy

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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 »

What we’re reading now: The APA report

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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 »