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Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:
1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
2. The use of an organized peer group
3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified
Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction.
From: Coercive Persuasion and Attitude Change
Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York
By Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Group polarization effects have been demonstrated to exaggerate the inclinations of group members after a discussion. A military term for group polarization is "incestuous amplification".
Study of this effect shown that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals whom did not participate in any such discussion. This phenomenon was originally coined risky shift but in recent years certain experimental conditions have been found that lead group discussion to inhibit risk; many now use choice shift as a replacement term for both effects.
In addition, attitudes such as racial and sexual prejudice tend to be reduced (for already low-prejudice individuals) and inflated (for already high-prejudice individuals) after group discussion.
Some studies have linked group polarization effects to the behaviors of trial juries. In different studies, mock jury members after deliberating favored either stronger or more lenient sentences than any individuals had held before discussion.
See also: Groupthink, group-serving bias, list of cognitive biases.