International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation

Vol. 1, pp. 1-16 (2020). First Published, January 30, 2020. DOI:

Investigating Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation: Recognizing the Legacy of the Cold War

William Douglas Woody, Jill Washychyn Payne, Kathryn LaFary, David Gretz, & Charlie Roseblum ..


In this manuscript, the authors examine the Cold War roots of the movement to study groups that engage in undue influence. In particular, the authors consider the transitions of some scholars directly from Cold War brainwashing research to the study of these groups and also the activities of researchers who did not directly address groups but established enduring foundations in this field. The authors also consider expert testimony in both the Hearst trial and a government program, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training program, which brought together disparate scholars to address these ideas. The authors then examine the influence of developments in social psychology on approaches to Cold War brainwashing and its connection to the later literature about groups that may use undue influence. The paper concludes with a review of strengths and limitations from this literature that remain in the study of these groups.