How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Exhaustion, Confusion, Suggestion
By using a combination of exhaustion and confusion, suggestibility is whereby people can be more easily persuaded. It is much like drowning. The person first is exhausted and then starts to struggle in vain and eventually gives themself to their fate.
This method is used surprisingly often in everyday conversation, where you may see someone hold the stage, going on at great length to wear down their opponents, using complex arguments and following up with a request for agreement.
Once regularly used by police for interrogation, this method has since been shown to be too effective at getting innocent people to confess to crimes they did not commit.
The first stage in breaking down a person is by exhausting them, physically, mentally and emotionally, such that they are almost too tired to think.
Keeping them busy is a subtle and persistent method of erosion, where a low level of activity with no time for rest wears them down gradually.
A series of shocks that trigger the Fight-or-Flight reaction cause an initial adrenaline rush followed by the inevitable down. External chemicals such as various narcotics can also be used to cause this up-and-down effect that has the overall downwards progression of 'one step up and two steps down'.
Diet also has an affect on people's state of alertness. Erratic meal times and an imbalance of foods will upset the body and brain chemistry. Generally, a lack of any essential nutrient will lead to exhaustion.
When people are exhausted, then their cognitive capabilities are not fully functional they are far easier to confuse.
Confusion is caused by information that the mind cannot process, and is thus forced to think hard about, seeking an answer to the problem that it faces.
Overload of information is a simple method of confusion. Deluge the person with facts, figures information and data that is simply too much for them to process. The overload effect is accelerated if the information is relevant to them, if it is interrelated and if it is inherently complex. It may be delivered as things to read, lectures, discussions, videos, and so on. The more senses that are assailed, the quicker the confusion arises.
Another method of confusion is to deliberately offer conflicting information, for example showing that people that you thought were your friends are now acting as if they are your enemies or somehow do not care about you.
Internal conflict and consequent confusion particularly happens when a person sees themself as acting outside their own values and other aspects of their own identity.
Various other forms of information control allow the person to be manipulated, confused and subsequently persuaded.
When people are confused, they will grasp at straws, and virtually anything you suggest will be gratefully accepted. Satisficing is the effect where, under stress, people seek reduction in stress rather than any thoughtful outcome.
Leading questions, for example, will more easily lead to the answers which are sought, as people miss the fact that they are being led and are only too happy to agree. Other forms of persuasive language will also be far more likely to effective.