Brainwashing is a term used to describe when mental control and coercion are used to make someone believe in something or perform actions that they normally wouldn't. Brainwashing is not official scientific nomenclature but the concept is also known as mental control, thought control, and thought reform. The term brainwashing was first used in the 1950s to describe how US prisoners of war converted to communism in Chinese prison camps. It is also commonly used in reference to cults and the mental conditioning and control they inflict on their members in order to influence them. The usage of propaganda, external violence (torture, deprivation) or 'loving' (cult acceptance) behaviors, and isolation are important components in mental control. Self-justification is used by the individuals under mental control in that the that arises from the adoption of irrational and conflicting beliefs are eliminated by rationalization.

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