Mass media channels like the internet, television, and radio rely on electromagnetic carriers to transmit signals. They can influence the behavior of their audience. They do this by triggering an altered state of consciousness conducive to programming the mind to accept new beliefs, values, and ideas. The most common example is the repetitive commercials that we hardly notice. So what is mass media mind control? Let’s have a detailed look.
Understanding Mind Control
Mind control refers to a process by which a person or organization uses specific techniques to persuade another to change their beliefs or values. These techniques may be ethical or crooked, depending on the ultimate goal of the manipulative person or organization. If unethical, the mind control ends up harming the person being manipulated. And if used with good intentions, it may trigger healing.
Ideal Brain Conditions that Facilitate Mind Control: Brainwave Entrainment
Entrainment is a process that describes how our minds and bodies adapt to our environment. So, brain entrainment refers to how an external stimulation to the brain can alter the brainwave rhythms, making them locked or entrained to that external signal generator. Sounds and imagery can stimulate an altered state of consciousness, making us vulnerable to external control. For example, listening to audios with binaural beats in the background can improve our focus or induce relaxation and deep sleep.
How Does Mass Media Control Our Minds?
Have you ever wondered why most car company commercials talk about everything except the car on sale? It is one of the advanced persuasion techniques media uses to manipulate its audience. See, most advertisers do not expect you to buy a product after watching a commercial. Instead, they aim to get you hooked for the long term.
Advertising companies also use promises of a dream lifestyle to lure their target audience into buying the products or services. This approach works best since our brains are more inclined to accept a promise of a fantasy life than the product or service on sale. And, since this fantasy lifestyle is pegged to the product or service, we start associating the products with the dream lifestyle.
In contrast, some advertisers present their products less persuasively. Yet, more people buy them due to their simplicity. Hence, mass media creates goals for their audiences. Then, they arrange situations that require the audience to behave in a certain way to achieve those goals. That way, mass media can control the audience’s behavior for as long as they pursue that goal.
Other advanced persuasion techniques include reinforcement, praises, punishment, guided imagery, focused distractions, shifting of perspective, and positive thinking.
Effects of Product Commercials on the Audience
We encounter overwhelming commercials daily when watching the mainstream media or interacting on our social media handles. We waste at least an hour every day getting distracted by the ads. Think about it. What was the last commercial you watched? You may not remember the advert because it blurs your memory. You know, they become the background noise in your mind, creating a powerful effect on how you think.
Eventually, the media influences our opinions, changes our preferences, and controls our lifestyles. It is an indirect mass media mind control that slowly alters our perspective with every advert we ingest. Hence, we hardly notice any difference.
One more way that commercials influence our minds is via the Sleeper Effect. The Sleeper Effect is a psychological phenomenon that explains how persuasion is effective through repetition and a discounting cue. Carl Hovland was the first to identify this phenomenon during World War II. He and his colleagues repeatedly asked the US soldiers for their opinions about the war while gradually subjecting them to army propaganda ads.
Initially, Carl noticed that the ads did not affect the soldiers’ views. They did over time. This delayed persuasion due to exposure to mass media is the Sleeper Effect.
3 Ways Social Media Is Affecting Our Brains
Mass media mind control is possible since social media provides immediate rewards with little effort. Our brains begin to rewire themselves, and we desire more of these stimulations. In addition, we start craving more of these excitements after each interaction.
Do you also find yourself hooked to social media even when you have urgent tasks pending? You could be developing a psychological addiction to social media. Brain scans of persons addicted to mass media show similar impairments to drug dependence. Stimulation from mass media degrades the white matter in the regions that control emotional processing, attention, and decision-making.
Here are three ways that social media can affect our brains:
#1: Poor Multi-Tasking
Are you fond of switching between work and social media? If so, know that this back and forth balance decreases your brain’s ability to hold on to information or differentiate between noise and relevant information. More so, heavy mass media users are poor at multitasking compared to people not on social media during working hours.
#2: Phantom Vibration Syndrome
Technology is beginning to rewire our nervous system, triggering the brain in new ways. One such example is the phantom vibration syndrome. It refers to a psychological disorder whereby you keep thinking that your phone is ringing or vibrating when, in fact, it didn’t. Due to excessive use of cell phones, the brain starts associating every itch, vibration, or sound with your buzzing phone.
#3: Excessive Release of Dopamine
Stimulation from social media triggers the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Our brain’s reward centers are more active when talking about our views than listening to others. Social media stimulates the same parts of the brain-related orgasms, motivation, and love. Hence, it creates the ideal platform for sharing views and releasing feel-good hormones. Whereas 30% to 40% of face-to-face communication involves communicating our experiences, approximately 80% of social media communication is self-involved.
There is overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that mass media mind control is real. Whether you prefer social media, traditional media, or tech gadgets like playing video games, excessive indulgence becomes harmful to the brain. And, any form of distraction from our tech devices has the power to control our minds.
As we evolve and grow within the framework of this reality we are beginning to realize that our salvation is our humanity. The more mindful we are, the more control we have over our choices and reality. Therefore, if you want to be free from the hypnosis that mass media puts on us, your only solution is mindfulness.
Remember that our brains are far superior to the techniques used by advertisers or technology devices that aim to manipulate us. Therefore, only you can decide what to absorb and what to filter.