Ask The Psychologist Issue #19: Many people ask me, how can peoples judgment be so clouded they can’t separate facts from mistruths?

Coercive Persuasion or more commonly called brainwashing may be looked at to somewhat answer the question; how can peoples judgment be so clouded they can’t separate facts from mistruths?

In 1985, I was attending a murder trial and observed the expert witness psychiatrist testifying for the defendant. For a half hour, he was asked questions by the district attorney and then further questions by the defending attorney. He was not interrupted one time by the prosecution with an objection. This was very unusual, since the psychiatrist was offering obvious misinformation, which was apparent to many people attending the trial.

What I observed as a reason for no prosecution objections was the fact that the expert witness was practicing indirect hypnosis. He was repeating the same information over and over in a monotone voice, while rocking slowly back and forth. The prosecutors were lulled into a state of compliance, similar to what I experienced, at times, in a college classroom, when the professor, in a similar monotonous tone mulls the class close to sleep.

When there was a recess in the trial, I had an opportunity to meet with the prosecutors and ask why they didn’t object to the psychiatrist’s testimony. They immediately realized that they didn’t and appeared to be puzzled. When I explained that the witness was practicing indirect hypnosis, they responded, “What is that?” This was one of my first experiences, where I was able to see a technique, by which people’s judgment can be so clouded; they can’t separate facts from mistruths?

The above example can be seen as one form of Coercive Persuasion or Brainwashing defined as:

Noun: brainwashing

The process of pressuring someone into adopting radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible means.

The persuasion doesn’t necessarily have to be forcible; it can be by propaganda or salesmanship, to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.

Today, most news stations are constantly repeating the same talking points news and using the same words to describe events. Over and over again, with no let up on their agenda. So if a person is constantly watching the same multiple news sources, they can be persuaded to believe what is being presented, whether it is factual or not. This has become known as, fake news, which is actually believed to be true by many people, even if proven not to be true. When a news outlet states that they provided untrue news and apologizes for it, the people who originally believed the false news refuse to change their initial false belief.

Since human beings, mostly behave based on information that is stored in their brain’s internal world, their behavior and thoughts are consistent with information that meets their higher psychological needs (Choice Theory Psychology principles). Even if the information is false, it can meet their needs for belonging, power, freedom and fun, just the same as if the information is factual. What I am describing can be more thoroughly explained by what is WRITTEN BY:

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica

“Brainwashing, also called Coercive Persuasion, is a systematic effort to persuade nonbelievers to accept a certain allegiance, command, or doctrine. A colloquial term, it is more generally applied to any technique designed to manipulate human thought or action against the desire, will, or knowledge of the individual. By controlling the physical and social environment, an attempt is made to destroy loyalties to any unfavorable groups or individuals, to demonstrate to the individual that his attitudes and patterns of thinking are incorrect and must be changed, and to develop loyalty and unquestioning obedience to the ruling party.

 The term is most appropriately used in reference to a program of political or religious indoctrination or ideological remolding. The techniques of brainwashing typically involve isolation from former associates and sources of information; an exacting regimen requiring absolute obedience and humility; strong social pressures and rewards for cooperation; physical and psychological punishments for non-cooperation ranging from social ostracism and criticism. In more severe situations, deprivation of food, sleep, and social contacts, to bondage and torture; and continual reinforcement.

The nature of brainwashing as it occurred in communist political prisons received widespread attention after the Chinese Communist victory in 1949 and after the Korean and Vietnamese wars. More recently, its reported use in fringe religious cults and radical political groups has aroused concern in the United States”.

By utilizing the above persuasive techniques, one can see how smart young people can be enticed into devoting themselves to twisted causes. They can even be motivated to joining various organizations and gangs, which can be moved to physical violence, to intimidate people to join them in their perceptions. As a result, many people have a hard time breaking away from a movement because of fear of reprisals, social isolation or disappointing their friends. We must remember that we live in a world where false information and extremist propaganda and recruiters, are just a broadband away.

Judge for yourself, how you see the world around you being affected by what is mentioned above and choose how you can keep from acting on distorted information and false respective talking points; by getting objective and observable facts, for your own life decisions.

Another way, via computer software, how peoples judgment can be so clouded they can’t separate facts from mistruths.

Hammer/Scorecard is a computer programs that can answer the above question. The below videos are very informative in answering this question. Please watch:

A true military hero,General (LtGeneral Thomas McInerney, USAF (Ret)),quite knowledgable on the subject referred to, releases this information during a TV interview.

The next video is “HAMMER / SCORECARD in real time”.

Bart P. Billings,Ph.D.
COL SCNG-SC, Military Medical Directorate (Ret.)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY 7656
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist CA LMFT 4888

—Director/Founder International Military & Civilian Combat Stress Conference
—Initial Enlisted Ranks and Retired as Medical Service Corps Officer with a total of 34 years in US Army
—Recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Award from Citizens Commission on Human Rights International & The University Of Scranton “Frank O’Hara Award” in 2016. (“Invisible Scars” & “Unhealthy Eating …” Books Website) (Combat Stress Conference website)
—Cell 760 500-5040
—Ph  760 438-2788


INVISIBLE SCARS” is available at

Some Amazon 5 Star Recent Customer Reviews

– This Book Saved My Life.

– I am sure that this book will save lives.

– 25 pages into Invisible Scars, I knew that it was the second most important book I would ever read…after the Bible. — David T. Ossian, Asst. National Vice Commandant , Marine Corps League

– This book is life changing…everyone needs to read …. 


HEALTHY EATING” is available at

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