Author(s): Faruk SANCAR
This study aims to present a conceptual and historical analysis of brainwashing theory which is one of the most mysterious approaches to explain how new religious movements gather their members, a much discussed matter in the Western world for quite a long time. As a concept, brainwashing is defined as any application and propaganda technique performed directly or indirectly in any form of systematic indoctrination, manipulation and pressure to control human mind or to create an intellectual and ideological transformation in minds with using incomprehensible, irresistible, and unfathomable methods. Whether this concept is a smear campaign carried out by traditional religious communities or an established reality is of great importance. Moving from this point of view our aim here is to discuss the emergence and historical development as well as criticism of brainwashing theory as objective as possible.