Brainwashing in a large group awareness training? : the classical conditioning hypothesis of brainwashing.
This dissertation provides an analysis of the processes of “death” and “rebirth” employed by Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs), and suggests a theory of brainwashing based upon Pavlov’s concept of classical conditioning. An autoethnographic account of LGAT participation is supplemented chiefly with two varied accounts to provide insight into the experience, with emphasis placed on LGATs’ tendencies to devalue reason, exalt blind trust, elevate emotional experience as a source of knowledge and then trigger an emotional experience. The result, it is argued, is belief predicated upon a manipulated experience, rather than traditional evidence. It is contended that this process – which circumnavigates critical thinking - is a form of brainwashing, never before articulated.