Psychological torture manual available online

The Manipulation of Human Behavior, a manual for psychological torture techniques written by leading psychologists and psychiatrists, is now available online.

Published by John Wiley & Sons in 1961, the 323-page book was edited by Albert D. Biderman of the Bureau of Social Science Research and Herbert Zimmer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, and funded by the U.S. government.

The editors’ introduction reads: 

This book represents a critical examination of some of the conjectures about the application of scientific knowledge to the manipulation of human behavior. The problem is explored within a particular frame of reference: the interrogation of an unwilling subject. A number of scientific areas have figured prominently in speculations regardirig the application of science to the manipulation of behavior in interrogation (69). For this work, scientists who had done research in each of these areas were asked to review the state of relevant knowledge in their fields, to consider whether and how it might be applied by interrogators, and to evaluate the recourse available to highly motivated persons for resisting the attempted influence. Their reports constitute the body of this book.

Each of the 7 chapters is a comprehensive review of the literature available at the time regarding a torture technique. Most of the literature reviewed came from government-funded studies.

  • 1. The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function, by Lawrence E. Hinkle, Jr. 
  • 2. The Effects of Reduced Environmental Stimulation on Human Behavior: A Review, by Philip E. Kubzansky.
  • 3. The Use of Drugs in Interrogation, by Louis A. Gottschalk.
  • 4. Physiological Responses as a Means of Evaluating Information, by R. C. Davis.
  • 5. The Potential Uses of Hypnosis in Interrogation, by Martin T. Orne.
  • 6. The Experimental Investigation of Interpersonal Influence, by Robert R. Blake and Jane S. Mouton.
  • 7. Countermanipulation through Malingering, by Malcolm L. Meltzer. 

Download The Manipulation of Human Behavior here.

(Via PsyBlog)

5 thoughts on “Psychological torture manual available online

  1. I found this part interesting:
    “Clinical psychiatric findings in the same study regarding placebo reactors found greater responsiveness characteristic of individuals who are more anxious, more self-centered, more dependent on outside stimulation than on their own mental processes; persons who express their needs more freely socially, who are talkers, and who drain off anxiety by talking and relating to others. In contrast to the placebo reactors, the nonreactors are clinically more rigid and more emotionally controlled than average for their age and background. No sex and I.Q. differences between placebo reactors and nonreactors were found”
    Are you aware of any studies related to this observation?

  2. In this book, is there anything about ancient torture practices? Factual historical reference, or only the more recent scientific findings. Some of the oriental torture practices for interrogation or otherwise could probably do well to further the knowledge base of the reader; especially in connecting similarities between the more recent ideas of psychologist and the ancient practices created hundreds of years ago.

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