If you would like to learn something new about a subject most people know little about, you are in for a treat. And the price tag is only 53 minutes of your time; unless you choose to stop after 15 minutes, which will be well worth your time.

In this delightfully engaging video conversation, Jon Atack and Susan Gaskin bring to life what, to many, is a dry topic: undue influence. They begin with Jon’s colorful definition and appropriate synonyms, such as coercive control, exploitative persuasion, manipulation and brainwashing.                       

After briefly chatting about the history of these expressions, Jon explains why Open Minds has decided to default to the legally recognized term of undue influence.

Jon and Susan then liven things up by sharing scientific research which shows how easily the human mind can be swayed, and how predatory, abusive groups use undue influence to regulate their members’ thinking, dehumanizing outsiders and creating barriers between people.

Jon expertly explains why it is so important to educate young people to make up their own minds, rather than having their emotions manipulated by someone else. They also discuss what educational conventions actually work to prevent healthy personal autonomy, and share the latest news about some amazing reforms in education geared to create engaged, curious, and independent learners in our schools.

Among some of the fascinating topics discussed are:

  • What is undue influence, and how does it work?
  • How is it different from coercive control and exploitative persuasion?
  • What is manipulation? Where does the term come from?
  • What is brainwashing, and why has the term become inaccurate as we use it today?
  • What does social psychology teach us about influence?
  • What is personal autonomy?
  • How does our sense of infatuation lead to manipulation, and why is it so important to be careful with our love?
  • Why does chocolate taste so good?
  • What is the best way to avoid a scam?
  • Just what did Mrs. Mattel say when she first saw the Ken doll?

What do you think about this interview? Do you agree? Have you read Jon’s book? Do you have a story about undue influence that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

And be sure to check out Susan’s YouTube channel, too!