Life Talk


Psychology is a discipline meant to help us understand how people think,
behave, act, and react to all the various situations that can occur in life.
And considering that people are the most important part of our society, this
is a pretty important discipline. Unfortunately, psychology isn’t always used
for good reasons. Sometimes, the knowledge of psychology is used for evil,
and the results are nothing short of sickening.
1. APA Psychologists Reverse Engineer Anti-
Interrogation Techniques
The US military has always been concerned about their soldiers being
captured behind enemy lines. In order to deal with this problem, they had
military psychologists come up with a program to teach soldiers how to
resist torture. This program is called SERE, and stands for Survival,
Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. Unfortunately, after 9/11, many of the
higher-ups in the CIA and the Department of Defense decided that we were
the ones who needed to extract information—no matter how it was
Enter military psychologists Mitchell and Jessen, who decided that they
would reverse engineer the military’s SERE program in order to break
detainees. The fruits of their labor have made popular such techniques as
stress positions, waterboarding, humiliation, and a host of other ways to
break a detainee’s spirit. Much of their work was inspired by the research
of one Dr. Seligman, who discovered what he termed “ learned
helplessness .”
First, he tortured dogs by shocking them with electricity. After they had
been subjected to this long enough, they no longer tried to escape the pain
—even when they had the opportunity. While Seligman has denied any
involvement in the military’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques, his work
was certainly an inspiration to those who reverse engineered SERE
2. PSY OPS Is Tasked With Manipulating US Senators

Most reasonable people understand that, if you’re going to use it,
psychological warfare is supposed to be used on your enemies—not on your
own people. However, Lt. General William Caldwell had other ideas. This
intrepid general decided that he wanted more funding and support for the
war in Afghanistan, so he tasked PSYOPS, the army’s psychological
warfare division at the time, with using their training to convince visiting
senators and VIPs to support the war effort.
The Lt. Colonel who was in charge of the operation felt extremely
uncomfortable using his training in a manner that he felt was against the
law, not to mention common ethics. However, despite his protests, he and
his team were forced to go ahead and start working on their psychological
profiles of visiting dignitaries anyway, with the general even considering
trying to get into the heads of NATO leaders as well. Eventually, the Lt.
Colonel had had enough, and blew the whistle on the operation, leading to
a major scandal and an investigation by General Petraeus. But, like many
whistle-blowers, Lt. Colonel Holmes—despite having an incredibly stellar
record—was brought up on disciplinary charges for tattling on his superior
At least, that’s one version of the story. Details on Caldwell’s specific
orders suggest that maybe there weren’t any nefarious psychological
persuasion techniques used at all. According to one of the military
attorneys who looked into the case, the orders were simply to “gather
publicly available information, analyze it, and share the analysis with the
visiting politicians.” Perhaps the final “analysis” had some bias that would
further the general’s plans to get more soldiers into Afghanistan, but that’s
not necessarily illegal—just morally ambiguous. In any case, the full details
of what really happened are buried in the muddy waters of military
bureaucracy, so we’ll probably never really know the full extent of
Caldwell’s little persuasion gimmick.
3. Massive North Korean Brainwashing
Most people know that North Korea is a brutal regime that takes things far
beyond the realms of sanity, but they do much more than just oppress their
people with force of arms. See, to truly control a populace, you need to
control their thoughts, so the leaders of North Korea turned to
brainwashing on a truly massive scale.
People may remember the weeping citizens on the news when Kim Jong Il
kicked the bucket. Many people thought it was faked by the North Korean
government, but one defector who ran off to South Korea more than a
decade ago explained that the emotion you saw on TV was genuine. In
fact, even after almost a decade, watching the displays of emotion on TV
brought her back to her time in North Korea, and made her feel like she
believed in his godhood once more. This is brainwashing so powerful that,
decades later, those who know the truth still have trouble divorcing
themselves from the lies they were once fed.
4. The Social Isolation Of Bradley Manning
Recently, researchers have started to understand just how important social
interaction is for the healthy functioning of a human mind. It turns out that
humans need to interact with other humans almost as much as we need
food and water. Copious research has now shown that extended social
isolation, even for just a few months, can easily break a person and cause
serious psychological harm. Bradley Manning is well known for blowing the
whistle on awful things that the United States was doing in overseas
military operations. Even though he had not yet been convicted of anything,
and certainly didn’t receive a speedy trial, the military decided that they
couldn’t wait for the law before they started punishing him for ratting them
For years before he actually stood trial, Manning was kept in solitary
confinement and only allowed out of his cell for an hour a day to exercise.
He wasn’t offered even the most basic items, like pillows and sheets, and
had no contact with the outside world. To make matters worse, the doctors
at the prison knew full well that what they were doing could be damaging
him psychologically. However, instead of petitioning to give him humane
conditions, they just stuffed anti-depressants down his throat so he
wouldn’t go completely bonkers before they could finally put him to trial.
Sensory Deprivation Experiments
Back in the 1950s, when it was easier to get an unethical experiment past
your university’s review board, psychologist Donald Hebb decided to test a
pet theory of his. It was Hebb’s belief that if a person was totally deprived
of any sensory input at all, their brain would start to weaken and perform
less efficiently. To test this theory, he paid students $20 a day to take part
in his study. However, even Hebb didn’t entirely anticipate just how awful
the results of his experiment would be. Hebb initially thought that he would
be able to observe his test subjects for several weeks to get some solid
data, but it turned out that none could last even one week.
Now, this was pretty severe sensory deprivation. The test subjects wore
frosted goggles, headphones that emitted white noise, and clothing meant
to limit their sense of touch. It was found afterward that these people had
temporary cognitive impairment even after just a short time with no sensory
input, and they were also found to be highly suggestible while deprived.
While Hebb’s work would likely be considered unethical now, he had no
intention of torturing anyone, and was surprised at how quickly and
dramatically his experiment worked.
However, a psychologist by the name of Ewen Cameron was interested in
Hebb’s work, and decided to devise his own methods with which to “treat”
patients. Hebb wanted no part in this, because Cameron would run his
experiments on patients in his hospital who couldn’t really go anywhere,
and, after using sensory deprivation and drugs to put them in a suggestible
state, would attempt to “reprogram” them. Unsurprisingly, he was
eventually sued for methods that Hebb himself referred to as “wicked.”
5 Gaslighting Performed By Psychoanalysts
The term “gaslighting” was originally coined in reference to the movie
Gaslight , which involved an abusive husband who was playing a game of
psychological warfare against his wife by constantly questioning her
version of reality. One of his favorite tricks was to turn down the gaslights
in the house, then claim that she was imagining it when she said that the
lights had dimmed. This technique is used by abusers to make the other
person question their own reality, which in turn makes them much easier to
Unfortunately, sometimes those who are learned in the psychological arts
decide to use similar dark techniques, and the results are horrifying. In his
book, one psychiatrist details a situation in which a doctor created a sort of
psychotherapeutic cult , where he sexually abused some of his patients. To
make matters worse, this psychologist was also seeing the husband of one
woman whom he constantly coerced. The husband would tell the
psychiatrist about his worries involving his wife and her involvement with
the group, and the doctor would reply that it was the husband who was
“distorting his own reality.”
Eventually, people started to come forward with accusations, and the
doctor’s reign of terror came to an end—but not before one of his patients
almost killed himself from the trauma that the attempted destruction of his
reality put him through.
gotten from listverse.

Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn


  1. There are some fascinating cut-off dates in this article however I don抰 know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity but I’ll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

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