The research material is publicly available through the archives within this Web site.
This research outlines the basics of social influence.
According to Cialdini, the majority of the thousands of different tactics that compliance professionals use fall into six categories, and each category is based on a psychological principle that directs human behavior. These six principles are:
1. Consistency. We try to justify our earlier behavior.
2. Reciprocity. If somebody gives us something, we try to repay in kind.
3. Social Proof. We try to find out what other people think is correct.
4. Authority. We have a deep-seated sense of duty to authority figures.
5. Liking. We obey people we like.
6. Scarcity. If we come to want something, we can be made to fear that if we wait it will be gone. The opportunity to get it may pass. We want to take it now - whatever is being offered, from an object to cosmic consciousness.
We can see how transformations occur when the six principles are skillfully put into play by cult leaders and cultic groups. For example:
1. Consistency. If you have made a commitment to the group and then break it, you can be made to feel guilty.
2. Reciprocity. If you accept the group's food and attention, you feel you should repay them.
3. Social proof. If you look around in the group, you will see people behaving in particular ways. You imitate what you see and assume that such behavior is proper, good, and expected.
4. Authority. If you tend to respect authority, and your cult leader claims superior knowledge, power, and special missions in life, you accept him as an authority.
5. Liking. If you are the object of love bombing and other tactics that surround you, make you feel wanted and loved, and make you like the people in the group, you feel you ought to obey these people.
6. Scarcity. If you are told that without the group you will miss out on living a life without stress; miss out on attaining cosmic awareness and bliss; miss out on changing the world instantly or gaining the ability to travel back in time; or miss out on whatever the group offers that is tailored to seem essential to you, you will feel you must buy in now.
Coercive persuasion is described in research within the following paper.
The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:
1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance
2. The use of an organized peer group
3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity
4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified
Note the distinctions between education, advertising, propaganda, indoctrination and thought reform, often called "brainwashing" or coercive persuasion.
Torture in not necessary in brainwashing.