Coordinated programs of coercive influence

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Concept.png Coordinated programs of coercive influence
the science of psychological torture applied to masses of people

The phrase coordinated programs of coercive influence and behavior control was introduced by (military) psychologists Richard Ofshe and Margaret T. Singer [1] to ...

...escape any suggestion that this

form of influence and social control depends upon the unique historical circumstances under which it was previously studied. Further, and of equal importance, our introduction of a new term is motivated by a desire to separate this analysis from some of the connotations which have become associated with the terms "[[thought reform]]," "coercive persuasion, and "brainwashing." "Brainwashing" is the least satisfactory of the common names for the phenomenon.

It conjures up, at least for the non-professional reader, ideas of mindless automatons deprived of their capacity for decision-making. "Thought reform" is a more neutral term but has an historical connotation linking it to a range of attempts to propagandize, indoctrinate, and re-educate as well as coercively influence and control China's population after Mao's revolution. As generally used, "coercive persuasion" connotes a substantial reliance on physical abuse and imprisonment. It is a term developed to describe procedures used on U.S. and U N. military personnel who were captured during the Korean War.


  1. Richard Ofshe, Ph.D. and Margaret T. Singer, Ph.D. (1986) Attacks on Peripheral Versus Central Elements of Self and the Impact of Thought Reforming Techniques, Cultic Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1 (avail. online)

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