On Resisting Social Influence
STANFORD UNIV CA DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Resisting social influences becomes important when such influences can be appropriately thought of as mind control. When information is systematically hidden, withheld or distorted it is impossible to make unbiased decisions. Under these circumstances, people may be subtly led to believe they are freely choosing to act. It is precisely this kind of decision that persists and most affects our behavior since we come to believe in those attitudes and actions for which we have generated our own justifications. The thesis of this essay is that mind control exists not in exotic gimmicks, but rather in the most mundane aspects of experience. Because it does, it is possible to reduce our susceptibility to unwanted coercive control by increasing our vigilance and learning to utilize certain basic strategies of analysis. In this paper, we present resistance strategies which are broadly applicable to the wide array of mind-manipulation attempts that surround us daily--in a self- help format that provides for ready accessibility. Findings from relevant social-psychological research, from interviews and personal experiences with con men, cultists, super-salesmen and other perpetrators of mind control comprise the reservoir of information from which we have drawn.
- Sociology and Law