Ideological remoulding
Thought reform
Coercive persuasion

A prolonged, calculated psychological process designed to distort and erase an individual's past beliefs and concepts and to substitute new ones without the individual's consent. The expected result is an inducement of passive acceptance and obedience and creating active approval and conversion to a new political, religious and/or socio-economic doctrine. This technique is used in both group settings and on individuals. R J Lifton describes a series of operations at work on the individual in the process of being brainwashed (a) annihilation of identity (taken from own group); (b) establishment of guilt (inner pain experienced as guilt); (c) conflict with an inflexible environment (only he is wrong); (d) adaptational solution (leniency when he admits guilt); (f) confession compulsion (everyone urges it); (g) channelling of guilt (guilt anxiety becomes attached to acts seen as subversive from the people's view point); (7) coercive confabulation (final confession – submission); (h) broadening of guilt (guilt as expanded to include major elements in his identity); (i) adaptational rewards (later participation in togetherness); (j) working through (living the principle of thought reform); (k) recoding of reality (alters values and identity; serves to reinterpret the past).


Korean War, the Chinese against the UN forces; Russian government against political prisoners; intensive training programs like guerrilla training, military boot camp, Japanese Management schools; and pre-schools and social group initiation processes like sect indoctrination, sorority and fraternity socialization etc.


Brainwashing is an extremely fast learning process that creates new behaviour patterns beyond the capacity of the person before brainwashing.

Counter Claim:

Brainwashing is done without the consent of the person being brainwashed.

Conveying dogmatism
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal