Emotiv's headset gives users mindcontrol over digital objects

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Emotiv's headset allows users some control over objects on a computer. It is possible to move things around, with limited application, with your mind. (Credit: Emotiv) I've just made a small orange cube disappear with my mind. No hands necessary. I'm testing out the San Francisco company's so-called brain control interface, the latest iteration of technology it first showed off a year ago, but which, unlike last year, is now almost ready for prime time. The idea is a blending of hardware and software: A headset that seems a little like the one from the James Cameron-written 1995 film, Strange

complete with a set of sensors that are built to read your brain waves. It . If so. They also ran me through another example. once you're hooked up to the headset. (Credit: Emotiv) Here's how it works: The software has several choices for actions you can take. this time trying to pull the cube forward. Then. with your mind--relax. then disappeared again and then came back. daring me to make it disappear. then came back. This one was harder because the brain function I chose to do to synchronize with the challenge was more concentrated. whatever. The headset is designed to fit snugly on a user's head. six-second test. The data it produces can. And the challenge is to see if you can reproduce what it was you were doing with your mind during the test. taking the disappearing cube as an example. In my case. in theory.Days. So. So that's why I've come to this office in downtown San Francisco. it's you against the cube. where you concentrate on doing something. It's kind of mocking me. the cube slowly disappears. you're directed to run a short. once you've completed the test. Repeat. where I'm face-to-face with this little orange cube. The software then is designed to interpret those brain waves in such a way as to allow users to manipulate objects onscreen with nothing but their mind. it disappeared. be plugged into a wide variety of software. anything. focus.

It didn't work very well. is why the product is being showcased during this week's Game Developers Conference. presumably. I think. the software is just looking for a pattern match. with much better results. For now. so long as what you do during the six-second calibration matches what you do when you try to enact the action. So while there. of this product. I think this technology is a ways from being ready for any hard-core application. and I'm sure that this would fit into that category. it doesn't matter in any way what you're doing with your mind. there's no relationship at all between brain activity that is consciously trying to "pull" the cube forward and what happens. And a goofy-looking face on the monitor would repeat the expression. and presumably. Of course. this is all still just in prototype phase. and so forth.involved me sort of tensing up my head and imagining the act of pulling the cube forward. it's very interesting and even quite impressive. That is to say. will be how easy it is for developers to build the technology into their games. It'll come bundled with a game that is geared toward using the technology. Nintendo's Wii and Guitar Hero have opened people's eyes to all-new interfaces.com/8301-13772_3-987451552. It's not all that complicated a concept. frown. Read more: http://news. So really. But with the disappearing act. To be perfectly honest. Perhaps it can. and if so. But I just don't know if it can improve fast enough to make a real difference in the market in the next year. here in San Francisco. Emotiv has also built technology designed to read your facial expressions and emotions. The success. that would be fantastic. But Emotiv promised me that the headset would be available in time for Christmas this year. Emotiv also said that the company is working on a partnership with IBM to integrate the brain control interface technology with Big Blue's virtual worlds projects.cnet. Whether Emotiv's technology is as well is something I'd have to reserve judgment on. more games will follow. though I'm sure it's a pretty difficult engineering feat. But the things that have made the Wii and the Guitar Hero controller so successful is that they are easy and intuitive to use. And that. at a price of $299. smile again. I simply relaxed my mind. I saw a demonstration where someone wearing the headset would smile.html#ixzz1FBmhD2BP . Based on what I saw.

to explain a wider range of phenomena.[2] . psychological or otherwise. The suggestion that NRMs use mind control techniques has resulted in scientific and legal controversy. which can be seen as subverting an individual's sense of control over their own thinking. mind abuse. coercive persuasion. Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to succeed in systematically indoctrinating prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. thought control. or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual "systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s). by psychologists includingMargaret Singer.[1] The term has been applied to any tactic. especially conversions to new religious movements (NRMs). emotions or decision making.Mind control (also known as brainwashing. Neither the American Psychological Association nor the American Sociological Association have found any scientific merit in such theories. These theories were later expanded and modified. often to the detriment of the person being manipulated". behavior. A third-generation theory proposed by Ben Zablocki focused on the utilization of mind control to retain members of NRMs and cults to convert them to a new religion.

which aimed to transform individuals with a reactionary imperialist mindset into "right-thinking" members of the new Chinese social system. wrote a series of books and articles on the theme of Chinese brainwashing. partial sensory deprivation. During the Korean War. literally "wash brain")[4] was originally used to describe methodologies of coercive persuasion used under the Maoist regime in China.S. sleep deprivation. xǐ xīn) prior to conducting certain ceremonies or entering certain holy places.Contents [hide] • • o o o o • • o o • • • 1 The Korean War and the origin of brainwashing 2 Cults and the shift of focus 2.1 Print media 4.[citation needed] The term punned on the Taoist custom of "cleansing/washing the heart" (洗心. unlike in earlier wars. inculcation of guilt and group social pressure. a relatively high percentage of American GIs defected to the enemy side after becoming prisoners- . information retained in the mind and individual values. Chosen techniques included dehumanizing of individuals by keeping them in filth. the APA and DIMPAC 3 An expanding concept 4 In popular culture 4. intelligence agent.3 Scholarly debate 2. who worked at the time both as a journalist and as a U.1 Theories of mind control and religious conversion 2.2 Deprogramming and the anti-cult movement 2.[5] To that end the regime developed techniques that would break down the psychic integrity of the individual with regard to information processing.[3] The Chinese term 洗腦 (xǐ năo. Hunter. Hunter and those who picked up the Chinese term used it to explain why. psychological harassment.2 Video media 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading [edit]The Korean War and the origin of brainwashing The Oxford English Dictionary records its earliest known English-language usage of brainwashing in an article by Edward Hunter in New Leader published on 7 October 1950.4 Legal issues.

[12] More recent writers including Mikhail Heller have suggested that Lifton's model of brainwashing may throw light on the use of mass propaganda in other communist states such as the former Soviet Union. According to forensic psychologist Dick Anthony. and then by offering them more comfortable situations such as better sleeping quarters. learning by rote and self-cultivation). By placing the prisoners under conditions of physical and social deprivation and disruption. in methods of organizing corrective prisons. the Chinese did succeed in getting some of the prisoners to make anti-American statements. in methods used by religious sects. Both researchers found that the Chinese mainly used coercive persuasion to disrupt the ability of the prisoners to organize and maintain morale and hence to escape.[6] British radio operator Robert W. It was believed that the Chinese in North Korea used such techniques to disrupt the ability of captured troops to effectively organize and resist their imprisonment. fraternal orders. mental hospitals and other institutions for producing value change.of-war. Edgar Schein gave a background history of the precursor origins of the brainwashing phenomenon: Thought reform contains elements which are evident in Chinese culture (emphasis on interpersonal sensitivity. Nevertheless. Thought reform techniques are consistent with psychological principles but were not explicitly derived from such principles. warmer clothes or blankets. political elites or primitive societies for converting or initiating new members. After the war. especially by the Russian secret police. Both researchers also concluded that such coercive persuasion succeeded only on a minority of POWs. the majority of prisoners did not actually adopt Communist beliefs. instead behaving as though they did in order to avoid the plausible threat of extreme physical abuse. as most of the individuals reverted to their previous condition soon after they left the coercive environment. the CIA invented the concept of "brainwashing" as a propaganda strategy to undercut communist claims that American POWs in Korean . and that the end-result of such coercion remained very unstable. better food. in methods of extracting confessions well known in the Papal Inquisition (13th century) and elaborated through the centuries. Schein published Coercive Persuasion[11] and Lifton published Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.[13] In a summary published in 1963. In 1961 they both published books expanding on these findings.[14] Mind-control theories from the Korean War era came under criticism in subsequent years. Ford[7][8] and British army Colonel James Carne also claimed that the Chinese subjected them to brainwashing techniques during their war-era imprisonment. two studies of the repatriation of American prisoners of war by Robert Jay Lifton[9] and by Edgar Schein[10] concluded that brainwashing (called "thought reform" by Lifton and "coercive persuasion" by Schein) had a transient effect.

[16][17][18]The media was quick to follow suit. brainwashing controversies developed between NRM members.[17] While some psychologists were receptive to these theories. various academic researchers. the CIA and the Defense Department conducted secret research (notably including Project MKULTRA) in an attempt to develop practical brainwashing techniques. by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman at York University. Over the years various theories of conversion and member retention have been proposed[by whom?] that link mind control to NRMs. military personnel to war crimes. Toronto. sociologists were for the most part skeptical of their ability to explain conversion to NRMs.S. who were usually psychologists. caused western POWs to collaborate. starting in the early 1950s. including biological warfare.[citation needed] [edit]Theories of mind control and religious conversion This section requires expansion. not brainwashing. developed more sophisticated models of brainwashing. (The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets From the Early Cold War. and some who converted suddenly adopted beliefs and behaviors that differed greatly from those of their families and friends.communist camps had voluntarily expressed sympathy for communism. military and government laid charges of "brainwashing" in an effort to undermine detailed confessions made by U. In the 1970s the anti-cult movement applied mind control theories to explain these sudden and seemingly dramatic religious conversions. Philip Zimbardo discusses mind control as "the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or . [edit]Cults and the shift of focus After the Korean War.[15] The U. Anthony stated that definitive research demonstrated that fear and duress. and particularly those religious movements referred to as "cults" by their critics.[19] and social scientists sympathetic to the anti-cult movement. against the Koreans. He further asserted that for twenty years. Indiana University Press. in some cases they neglected or even broke contact with their loved ones. and that their attempt failed. He argued that the books of Edward Hunter (whom he identified as a secret CIA "psychological warfare specialist" passing as a journalist) pushed the CIA brainwashing theory onto the general public. 1998). applications of mind control theories in the United States shifted in focus from politics to religion. These theories resemble the original political brainwashing theories with some minor changes. and cult critics. From the 1960s an increasing number of American youths started to come into contact with new religious movements (NRM).S.[20] In the years that followed.

Robert Lifton also applied his original ideas about thought reform to Aum Shinrikyo. Such critics[who?] often argue that certain religious groups use mind control techniques to unethically recruit and maintain members. social psychologist Robert Cialdini argues that mind control is possible through the covert exploitation of the unconscious rules that underlie and facilitate healthy human social interactions. The report concluded that "control of these areas of action is an inevitable component of social interactions in a group or community. rendering a person more susceptible to black-and-white thinking. motivation. cognition and/or behavioral outcomes".[26] Hassan claims that cults recruit and retain members by using. notes the conditions under which each social rule is most easily exploited for false ends. However the practice of coercive deprogramming fell out of favor in the West and was largely superseded by exit counseling.[22] In a 1999 book.distort perception. affect. among other things. Exit counselor Steven Hassan promotes what he calls the "BITE" model in his book Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves (2000).[23] Approaching the subject from the perspective of neuroscience and social psychology. Science and Practice. Lifton and other researchers from the inception of the anti-cult movement[when?] onwards. systematic deception. agreed with this conclusion: in her book Cults in Our Midst she describes six conditions which would create an atmosphere in which thought reform is possible. The . he offers specific examples of both mild and extreme mind control (both one on one and in groups). Critics of mind control theories caution against the broader implications of these conversion models.[25] [edit]Deprogramming and the anti-cult movement Both academic and non-academic critics of "destructive cults" have adopted and adapted the theories of Singer. Kathleen Taylor suggests that manipulation of the prefrontal cortex activates "brainwashing". behavior modification.[21] and he suggests that any human being is susceptible to such manipulation. and offers suggestions on how to resist such methods. He states that common social rules can be used to prey upon the unwary. information.[26] The BITE model describes various controls over human behavior. and emotionally intense persuasion techniques (such as the induction of phobias). concluding that in this context thought reform was possible without violence or physical coercion. thought and emotion. Margaret Singer. He refers to all of these techniques collectively as "mind control". the withholding of information. Many of these critics advocated or engaged in deprogramming as a method to liberate group members from apparent "brainwashing".[24] Meanwhile. Using categories. a review was made of the BITE model. in Influence. who also spent time studying the political brainwashing of Korean prisoners of war. In the 1998 Enquete Commission report on "So-called Sects and Psychogroups" in Germany.

[32] Some sociologists disagree with this consensus. Stephen A. generally accepted and based upon methodologically sound research.[29] For similar reasons. Eileen Barker. John Hall.[28] By considering NRM members innocent "victims" of psychological coercion these theories open the door for psychological treatments. Lorne Dawson. Barker and other scholars have criticized mental health professionals like Margaret Singer for accepting lucrative expert witness jobs in court cases involving NRMs. methodical influence for the express purpose of manipulation."[27] Indeed virtually all of these models share the notion that converts are in fact innocent "victims" of mind-control techniques."[31] In addition to Bromley. Gordon Melton.[30] For this and other reasons. of relevant professional associations and of scientific communities that there exists no scientific theory.[29] Singer was perhaps the most publicly notable scholarly proponent of "cult" brainwashing theories.[33][34] These scholars tend to see the APA's decision as one of no consensus. Massimo Introvigne. while what Melton sees as a majority of scholars[35] may regard it as a rejection of brainwashing and of mind control as legitimate theories. Most adherents participate for only a short time.[20] Hassan suggests that even the cult members manipulating the new converts may themselves be sincerely misled people. Saul Levine (amongst other scholars researching NRMs) have argued and established to the satisfaction of courts. and the success in retaining members is limited. the APA and DIMPAC Main article: APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control . Newton Maloney.social control that is always associated with intense commitment to a group must therefore be clearly distinguished from the exertion of intentional. Kent has also published several articles about brainwashing. one would expect that NRMs would have high growth rates. sociologists including David Bromley and Anson Shupe consider the idea that "cults" are brainwashing American youth to be "implausible. Thomas Robbins. and she became the focal point of the relative demise of those same theories within her discipline. that supports the brainwashing theories as advanced by the anti-cult movement. Dick Anthony. Anson Shupe. Benjamin Zablocki sees strong indicators of mind control in some NRMs and suggests that the concept should be researched without bias. yet in fact most have not had notable success in recruitment. Marc Galanter. Sociologists including Eileen Barker have criticized theories of conversion precisely because they function to justify costly interventions such as deprogramming or exit counseling.[citation needed] [edit]Legal issues.[17] [edit]Scholarly debate James Richardson observes that if the NRMs had access to powerful brainwashing techniques.

In 1980.S. Before the taskforce had submitted its final report. courts consistently rejected testimonies about mind control and manipulation. frauds. She was meant to appear with Richard Ofshe in the 1990 U. 1987. . Steven Fishman and Lee Boyd Malvo. "neither the APA nor the ASA has endorsed the views of Dr. v. Fisher accompanied the rejection memo. the APA's Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP) rejected the DIMPAC report because the brainwashing theory espoused "lacks the scientific rigor and evenhanded critical approach necessary for APA imprimatur". Singer sued the APA in 1992 for "defamation. BSERP does not believe that we have sufficient information available to guide us in taking a position on this issue.[40] Benjamin Zablocki and Alberto Amitrani interpreted the APA's response as meaning that there was no unanimous decision on the issue either way. have not been successful. The letters criticized "brainwashing" as an unrecognized theoretical concept and Singer's reasoning as so flawed that it was "almost ridiculous. since Singer's final report had not been completed. ex-Scientologist Lawrence Wollersheim successfully sued the Church of Scientology in a California court which decided in 1986 that church practices had been conducted in a psychologically coercive environment and so were not protected by religious freedom guarantees. In the eyes of the court. the APA submitted on February 10. [37] However. Singer and Dr.Since their inception."[38] Two critical letters from external reviewers Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi and Jeffery D.[41] Yet her career as an expert witness ended at this time. suggesting also that Singer retained the respect of the psychological community after the incident. stating that such theories were not part of accepted mainline science according to the Frye Standard (Anthony & Robbins 1992: 5-29) of 1923. the American Psychological Association (APA) asked Margaret Singer to chair a taskforce called the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control (DIMPAC) to investigate whether brainwashing or "coercive persuasion" did indeed play a role in recruitment by such movements. and concluded that "after much consideration. 1987 an amicus curiæ brief in an ongoing court case related to brainwashing.[citation needed] Others who have tried claiming a "brainwashing defense" for crimes committed while purportedly under mind control. mind control theories have also been used in various legal proceedings against "cult" groups. Fishman Case.[42] After that time U. in which Steven Fishman claimed to have been under mind control by the Church of Scientology in order to defend himself against charges of embezzlement. on May 11. including Patty Hearst. In 1983.[36] Afterward the APA filed a motion to withdraw its signature from the brief.S. but the courts disallowed her testimony. The brief repudiated Singer's theories on "coercive persuasion" and suggested that brainwashing theories were without empirical proof. Ofshe on thought reform". aiding and abetting and conspiracy" and lost."[39] After her findings were rejected.

Kent analyzes and summarizes the use of the brainwashing meme by nonsociologists in the period 2000-2007. and Alleged Chinese Governmental Human Rights Violations Against Falun Gong". be manipulated at will by outside sources. behavior. the protagonist undergoes a scientific re-education process called the "Ludovico technique" in an attempt to remove his violent tendencies. Air Force Lieutenant David Luger. Richardson. the Soviets capture and brainwash U. emotions or decisions can. such as custody battles and child sexual abuse cases. finding the term useful not only in the context of "New Religions/Cults".[45] [edit]In popular culture Main article: Mind control in popular culture [edit]Print media  The communal brainwashing of an entire model community via subliminal messages is a central theme in the 2009 novel Candor by Pam Bachorz. Interpersonal Violence. portraying separately the dangers of JITT (Just-in-time training) and the specter of YGBM (You gotta believe me). but equally under the headings of "Teen Behavior Modification Programs.[43][44] Stephen A. Dysfunctional Corporate Culture. Rainbows End (ISBN 0-312-85684-9).  In his 1999 science fiction novel A Deepness in the Sky. "where one parent is accused of brainwashing the child to reject the other parent. the fictional totalitarian government of Oceania uses brainwashing-style techniques to erase nonconformist thought and rebellious personalities. some of the concepts of brainwashing have spread to other fields and are applied "with some success" in contexts unrelated to the earlier cult controversies.[edit]An expanding concept Mind control is a general term for a number of controversial theories proposing that an individual's thinking.  In George Orwell's noveloNineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949 before the popularisation of the term "brainwashing"). Vernor Vinge introduces the themes of "mindrot" and controlled "Focus" later eplored in his 2006 novel. . Terrorist Groups. According to sociologist James T.  Vernor Vinge speculates on the application of technology to achieve brainwashing in his 2006 science fiction novel.S.  In the novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. to a greater or lesser extent.  In the novel Night of the Hawk by Dale Brown. transforming him into the Russian scientist Ivan Ozerov. and in child sex abuse cases where one parent is accused of brainwashing the child to make sex abuse accusations against the other parent".

The government controls a totalitarian society subconsciously by manipulation. Over time the images and words become opposites to induce reverse associativity. This show demonstrates a view of the powers of mental malleability. a television show on Channel 4 The television show Dollhouse (2009–2010) explores the applications and consequences of direct mind manipulation. television and games in the late twentieth century. It was a convenient means of introducing changes in the behavior of characters and a device for raising tension and audience uncertainty in the climate of Cold War and outbreaks of terrorism. The story shows top British scientists being brainwashed using the IPCRESS technique (an acronym for "Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned Reflex under strESS"). with a screenplay based on Len Deighton's 1962 novel. android police officers. namely through the use of computers. When protagonist Harry Palmer is captured. The IPCRESS File. .  The film Brazil.[edit]Video media Brainwashing became a common trope of films. from a screenplay by Lucas and Walter Murch. Communist brainwashers convert a soldier into an assassin through something akin to hypnosis. The Prisoner. suggesting that entire personalities can be erased and rewritten on a whim. intending to remain in control of the population.  THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas.   Derren Brown: Mind Control (1999-2000).  The 1974 film The Parallax View includes a brainwashing scene where the main character watches a film in which words are followed by pictures representing that word. regulated use of special drugs and vibrations to suppress emotions. such as the word "mother" followed by images of destruction. mandatory. such as "mother" followed by a picture of a woman.  Various methods of brainwashing including the use of drugs and hypnosis are portrayed in different episodes of the 1967/8 British television series. depicts a fascist government similar to that in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. including sexual desire. faceless.  The 1965 film The Ipcress File. he is subjected to brainwashing through torture and hypnosis. a British espionage film directed by Sidney J. Specifically. It depicts a dystopian future in which a high level of control is exerted upon the populace through omnipresent. Furie and starring Michael Caine.  The 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate makes the concept of brainwashing a central theme.

 In the game BioShock.  The game Call Of Duty Black Ops Alex Mason was captured and sent to vorkuta where they brainwashed him to a sleeper cell where he received numbers from a broadcast station named Russalka . As well as forced to follow any order after the phrase "Would You Kindly" is spoken. the main character Jack is later revealed to have been Brainwashed by Frank Fontain in a long con plan to gain control of the city of Rapture.

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