Brainwashing is a term that was adopted by the press to describe the indoctrination of U.S. prisoners of war (POWs) during the Korean War. Social scientists now recognize brainwashing as a form of severe indoctrination marked by physical and psychological stress, intense social pressure, and a variety of persuasion techniques. This form of intense indoctrination usually promotes some particular form of political or religious doctrine, often entailing costly sacrifices by adherents.


Modern social scientists became concerned with brainwashing when American POWs during the Korean War were subjected to systematic persuasive techniques by their captors. Following this indoctrination, some of these POWs did, in fact, cooperate with the enemy, at least superficially. Such prisoners praised their captors or made hard-to-believe confessions about participating in various war atrocities. ...

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