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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

BRAINWASHING is a technique that has been used for centuries and is no mystery to psychologists in the military. Edward Hunter, a British journalist stationed in China, used the term “brainwashing” to describe the process he saw being applied in China to coerce conformity among its citizens. The concept was used again during the Korean War to explain the defections of American soldiers. Hunter alleged that these persuasive techniques were so powerful as to be irresistible and irreversible.

His new value system, along with his manner of perceiving, organizing, and interpreting events, has been totally altered, and the brainwashing process is complete. He is no longer capable of thinking or speaking in ways other than those that he has adopted as a result of the brainwashing. However, recently developed techniques of self-discipline and awareness may allow someone to combat and possibly overcome the effects of these manipulative procedures.

BRENTANO, FRANZ (1838-1917). German philosopher and psychologist.

In 1880, Brentano married, a breach of his priestly vow, which in Catholic Austria caused him to lose his title as professor and much of his salary.

At Wurzburg, for example, he taught and befriended the young Carl Stumpf (1848-1936). the future leader of the “Berlin School” of Gestalt psychology. At Vienna, his prominent students included Alexius Meinong (I853-1920), Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932), and Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). One modern context in which Brentano’s thought has reemerged is the field of artificial intelligence, where the question has been debated as to whether or not purely mechanical processes can ever take on the capacity for intentionality or “aboutness” that he emphasized as the defining characteristic of all genuinely mental acts.

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology
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