The Manipulated Mind
By Denise Winn
pg 110 - When the rules have been set, we feel difficulty in disobeying them unless we have massive peer support.
pg 111 - People cannot be trusted to say and do what they think is right if others around them are expressing an opposite opinion.
pg 112 - Having one supporter was sufficient to eliminate the strong conformity drive.
pg 112 - The need to be one with a group, to have group approval and therefore social approval, means that individuals will very often change their attitudes themselves, to fit with the norm, instead of having to be pursuaded... The passive power exerted by social norms is all the stronger than overt power because it is bowed to unconsciously.
pg 112 - In group decision making, the pressure for consensus is so strong that it can inhibit any expression of dissent... The enthusiasm of the members can lead to an illusion of invulnerability; whatever decision is made must be the right one because they made it... The group comes to believe in its own intrinsic morality...
pg 115 - ... if an individual wants someone to do him a big favour, the most successful technique for winning it is to induce him to do a small favour first.
pg 115 - 'boomerang effect': if a person has committed himself to something and is then attacked for his position, he increases his committment, even if it was not at all strong in the first place.
pg 117 - ... forewarning of attack may strengthen commitment... This finding, borne out by many other independent researchers, may perhaps be seen in the case of religious cult converts who are constantly warned of the dangers of being caught by a deprogrammer who will try to overturn their belief, thus strengthening the converts resolve to hold firm to their faith in the face of any evil.
pg 117 - ... if people committed themselves to attend a certain number of sessions of a group and then discovered that their own views were rather at variance with those of that group, gradually their own views would grow closer to the group norm... he had committed himself to spending time with the group, he had to justify that decision.
pg 117 - ...individuals seem to need to believe that their own actions are self-instigated... a deception that may well arise because of an attack on ones freedom... When an environment is effectively controlled by external forces, then acting as if one's behaviour was really self-derived is one of the few alternatives left open... people who behaved in a military fashion even when it was not demanded nor suggested... soldiers who regularly marched from their bunks or saluted other recruits... In behaving the same way in freer settings, one retains the perception of choice of self-responsibility in more prescribed situations.
pg 120 - cognitive dissonance... many devotees of spiritual healers who have been exposed as fakes continue to offer their faith and 'stick by' the maligned hero, not because of any magnitude of spirit themselves but because of the insupportable psychological consequences of accepting they had been duped.
pg 126 - As the justifications for making a given decision increase, the decision becomes more "externalized"; the individual can point to circumstances which compel a given course of action, limit his choice and reduce the risks attendant upon personal responsibility. In short, extrinsic justification minimizes the necessity for intrinsic justification - for psychological re-evaluation of the alternatives, for changing one's values, attitudes or motives... most people try to avoid making decisions or accepting responsibility and situations of free choice... most people treasure the concept of free choice... yet, in reality, do all to avoid it.
pg 128 - Similarly, belief in the spiritual healing process can effect a cure for even intransigent diseases.
pg 129 - Believing in a healer may well serve to reduce anxiety about one's condition and, as the conditions that respond best to placebos are those where bodily pain may be aggravated by anxiety and tension, this would tend to imply that placebo power is the power to allay the kind of stress symptoms which may prevent the body's own healing process from getting to work. It makes all the more sense when one considers that more and more diseases are now seen as stress-induced in the first place.
pg 131 - Psychologists have shown through controlled experiments that participating in various events, even supposedly as a game, can definitely make an individual's attitude towards that event more positive than before.
pg 132 - ... it (role-playing) required a person to think up all the arguments and appeals that he thinks would be most convincing to a person like himself - and in doing so, it is himself he persuades.
pg 153 - ... four influencing events to pay attention to in the context of sudden religious conversion: first, a close personal relationship needs to be developed with the people one wishes to convert to one's own position. It is human to respond to the offer of caring from another individual, to respond, especially if affection-starved and disoriented, to the tempting welcome into the bosom of a strong and loving family; second, the arousal of emotion by the leader, whether by emotional speeches, rhythmic music or dancing, serves to stir up troubling deep guilt and fear feelings in the audience which can be relieved quickly by submission to the cause; third, by responding to the appeal to come forward, to make promises or to speak out and be counted, people can be coaxed to commit themselves by actions which may then, as has been shown, colour their consequent attitudes; last, says Zimbardo, comes the powerful influence of prayer. The act of prayer may serve many purposes, in this context. It binds the group, acts as a reminder of the initial emotions experienced during the conversion itself, reinforces belief and, by focusing on the power of a supernatural force to bring good or evil, serves to place an individual's total responsibility for his actions outside himself. Prayer can bring peace... Whatever else may exist in the essence of prayer, prayer as a form is an effective instrument for manipulation.
pg 154 - Sargant has seen Evangelical-type conversion as a prime example of what can happen when the brain reaches overload and succumbs to a surfeit of stress. At the sermons of Wesley, for instance, it was a regular occurrence for people to collapse as the mass hysteria mounted, and to rise saved. Wesley's speeches aroused the whole gamut of emotions in the audience, from guilt and fear to anger and indignation. It was irrelevant which. The result was physical collapse and an ensuing state of suggestibility which led to instant conversion.
pg 162 - They were also implanted with the idea that anything negative they experience was because of the evil still in them. This way no blame could ever be attached to the Moonie cult itself.
pg 155 - Hoffer: 'Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for lost faith in ourselves. The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.'
pg 156 - Hoffer: 'Are the frustrated more easily indoctrinated than the non-frustrated? There is apparently some connection between dissatisfaction with oneself and a proneness to credulity. The urge to escape our real self is also an urge to escape the rational and the obvious. The refusal to see ourselves as we are develops a distaste for facts and cold logic. There is no hope for the frustrated in the actual and possible. Salvation can to them only from the miraculous. They ask to be deceived.'
pg 157 - ... all mass movements are interchangeable...
1. In-group exclusiveness and hostility to all outside it.
2. Demand for total submissiveness to the in-group which alone can bring about good.
3. The categorization of people according to selected characteristics and making overall judgments on the basis of these.
4. Promotion of the idea that the world is a scene of unceasing conflict, e.g. as a result of 'class war'
5. The view that any tenderness for family bonds or toleration of enemies serves only to weaken the in-group in its struggle and dilute commitment.
6. Belief in hostile conspiratorial forces whose aim is to destroy the in-group. Survival may therefore require violence.
7. Belief in a wholly harmonious society which can only be created by the in-group.
pg 165 – Gortner saw his role as preacher as similar to that of a rock star. He would make a strong entrance, go through the old standard numbers and build up to his ‘hit song’ at the end, by which time the audience is in ecstasy. ‘ The people who are out there don’t see it as entertainment although that is in fact the way it is.’ Now that he is no longer a preacher, Gortner spends much time trying to convey to the public the kinds of rhetorical techniques that are so commonly used to manipulate their thoughts and emotions.
pg 165 - Gortner (former preacher): 'And I keep going back and forth until she's almost in tears. And then, even though this is in a college crowd and I'm only doing it as a joke, I just say my same old line, "In the name of Jesus" and touch them on the head and, wham they fall down flat every time.'
Pg 169 – Every day, Manson would reiterate his philosophies of life, indoctrination by the time-tested means of repetition. He knew well that, as they lived in seclusion as a family, his followers would receive no counter-information of any kind to conflict with the content of his own.
pg 170 - T.H. Qualter: 'Uniforms, bands, flags, symbols were all part of the German propaganda machine, designed by Hitler and Goebbels to increase the impact of strong words by evidence of strong deeds. Meetings were not just occasions for people to make speeches, they were carefully panned theatrical productions in which settings, lighting, background music and timing of entrances and exits were devised to maximise the emotional fervour of an audience already brought to fever pitch by an hour or more given over to singing and the shouting of slogans.
pg 177 - Scheflin and Opton: ' We do not want to confront Pogo's famous insight, "We have met the enemy and he is us". How much more comforting to think, "We have met the enemy and he is Satan" or "she is a witch" or "his mind is possessed by demonic spirits"...'
pg 177 - For to admit we can be swayed and manipulated is possibly more frightening than to admit that others can choose to perform socially or politically or morally unacceptable actions.
pg 204 - The best way to avoid conversion of any kind is not to get emotionally involved in the proceedings. Once guilt, fear, anger are stirred up, one is halfway to being won.. The obstacles that the religious or political proselytizer cannot overcome are indifference or detached, controlled, and continued amusement on the part of the subject at the efforts being made to break him down or win him over or tempt him into argument. The safety of the free world seems therefore to lie in a cultivation not only of courage, moral virtue and logic but of humour: humour which produces the well-balanced state in which emotional excess is laughed at as ugly and wasteful.
pg 204 - Humour is therefore not only a tool for keeping one's own perspective balance but an aid, via its absence, to identifying those others who have no sense of perspective. Beware the leaders of causes, salesman and experts who cannot genuinely laugh at themselves.
pg 207 - Getting out of a situation is one of the best ways of seeing it for what it is instead of becoming swamped by it and helpless to resist... Immersion in any experience mars one's judgment about its import and its true relationship to other events in life.
pg 212 - Perhaps it is only by standing back, emotionally, and testing our assumptions that we can become more the masters of ourselves and correspondingly less the slaves of circumstance.