i can tell them a whole lot more science guy experiences
because what are they doing
sitting there reading things off the internet and putting in practice for experiments to
and know nothing…
of personal experience
can be any of those
and just go ahead
when u hear these tricks, like looks like a bluff too,
scream at u nd then at home buy you a Porsche
or sounds like those conflict theories
its actually to feed their energy
…sadistic ego that needs that telling how much of the worst in the planet in the world with all sorts f p and s
so when they grown up, thats what have grown up with
and too when they amongst each other
that whats feeds their energy to get them going again…
and its to plan…like a kind of review
and to work on ur anxieties and so forth except theirs are pleasure centres
so they moved pieces around to play dialectical chess
my king against their king…
critical theory vs scientific experiments theories
is this what was played…
How come haven’t toppled their king… because it’s tantamount…
who played such a game of chess to move the pieces around…
So the purpose for this game of chess was to think science is triumphant with peer reviews… to drive a nail thru Marys head and say it’s because he is a crazy king and have to take him out?…
thus the followers of Marys honey in her tummy
which never listened in the first place…
Since the object live would be to premeditate every move and keep surveillance on all the time to make it so squaring the king…
science then felt driving the nail thru ‘marys’ head is a valid reason for continuing all the time to prove ultimately science is the solution to all problems, rational to take out high level political and economic support worldwide through political parties and the forces which support the scientific king… is this the level wanting to play on and therefore silences supported to utilize technology to ensure the nail is driven thru the Honey in her tummy… sounds quite real this myth game of chess chosen to be made real(is this a good… discourse language)…
So what else is in between this dialectical chess… is that what was written… that there is a rational support for the science king… saying the slave was sick and accused to so whilst crucifying him
understand the complexities of such a dangerous and highly strategic mad man that plays such a game of dialectics,…was he afraid for himself, what was it that challenged him about the slave king
you know these
peer reviewers using literature to support their theories
reading things off the internet amongst their circles to practice for their
15 Most Shocking Forms Of Psychological Torture Used On Humans
Posted by deca on June 14, 2019 at 7:53pm in MEMBERS BLOG
15 Most Shocking Forms Of Psychological Torture Used On Humans
by Amanda Katherine
– on Aug 17, 2016
in Most Shocking
Tracing back to medieval times and beyond, evil and twisted minds have thought up a range of psychological torture methods that will make even the strongest men and women break. Many of these techniques continue to be used today, especially by secret government agencies.
The term psychological torture uses non-physical methods, meaning it does not hurt, maim, or even touch the body. Rather, psychological torture refers to techniques that deeply penetrate and traumatize the human mind and psyche.
Many of these torture techniques are popularized in films or crime shows. The most recognizable forms of torture are sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, being subject to long periods of interrogation, and Chinese water torture.
Although not all psychological torture has physical violence involved, the two can still intertwine. The effects of the fear and pain induced by physical torture often result in long-term psychological damage. As well as this, there are many forms of psychological torture that involve some type of pain or coercion.
Scroll down this list to see the 15 craziest forms of psychological torture known to man. Each of these have been proven throughout history to be effective techniques for inflicting terror on a continuously weakened mind.
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Blackmailing is considered a form of psychological torture. It can be used to coerce, or force another person to act in an involuntary manner due to the intimidation and threats being made against them.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines blackmail as a crime of threatening to tell secret information about someone unless the person being threatened gives the blackmailer what they want. This is usually in the form of money, but in some cases, like relationships, it can be used as psychological torture to coerce a partner to stay with someone.
A law in England was made in 2015 after a man used emotional blackmail to torture the mother of his child. A middle-aged man from Manchester threatened to commit suicide and threatened his girlfriend because he feared she would leave him.
He also monitored her social media pages and controlled who she was friends with and spent time with. He was arrested for “coercive and controlling” behavior and was subsequently jailed for 15 months.
14 Long Periods Of Interrogation
Interrogators often rely on psychological methods to get what they want out of the people they are questioning. Psychological methods are specifically used on detainees with the goal of making people talk. The use of psychological ploys is not necessarily legitimate, but it is often condoned by authorities.
There has been a lot of controversy over the years in determining which methods of interrogation are legal and which would be categorized as cruel and inhumane treatment.
The International Committee Of The Red Cross (ICRC) published a document regarding psychological torture, which says that torture during interrogation includes methods that do not physically assault the body or cause actual physical pain. Psychological methods used during interrogations are often those that cause a disturbance of the person’s senses or personality.
It is often seen in police interrogations where the detainees are held for long periods of time while someone questions, accuses, and intimidates them. Police use many different methods to get their perpetrators to admit or confess to whatever crime they think they have committed.
13 Sleep Deprivation
The U.S. Senate Select Committee released a report in 2014 on Intelligence focused on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Published in those reports, was the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—sleep deprivation being one of the most popular.
In order to practice sleep deprivation torture on a human, they must be kept away for up to 180 hours. During this time, people are often standing or put in uncomfortable positions.
People who are sleep deprived often suffer from troubling hallucinations. Sleep deprivation is a debilitating form of psychological torture because it attacks the deep biological functions.
The core of a person’s mental and physical health is dependent on them getting the proper amount of sleep. Without it, it can be far more damaging and painful than any physical torture if pushed to the extremes.
The first signs of sleep deprivation include feelings of fatigue, irritability, and difficulties concentrating. However, that is nothing compared to the problems of reading and speaking clearly, poor judgment, lower body temperature, and an increase in appetite that victims often suffer the further their torturers push them.
Gas-lighting is another form of psychological abuse where a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memories, perceptions, and sanity. This can be anything from an abuser denying previous abuse incidents to an abuser staging bizarre and traumatizing events with the intention of disorienting the person.
The term gas-lighting comes from the 1938 play, Gas Light. It has been used in clinical and research literature.
Gas-lighting often leads to a person not being able to trust their immediate sense of their feelings and surroundings.
Sociopaths and narcissists love using gas-lighting tactics, whether they are fully aware of what they are doing or not. Sociopaths will often transgress social norms, break laws, and exploit others, but they will seem charming and convincing the entire time. These people will consistently deny their wrongdoing, even to the point where others are victimized by sociopaths who make them doubt their own perceptions.
Another place where gas-lighting is often seen is with physically abusive spouses, where the abusive partner vehemently denies that they have been violent.
11 Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement has been a form of psychological torture used for centuries. It is known for bringing on madness and is still used today in most prisons.
Real terror arises for a person once they realize they are alone, spending days, weeks, or months by themselves in a room with nothing to do. Lack of human contact has been shown over and over again to bring on depression and anxiety in previously well-adjusted individuals.
Prisoners left in solitary confinement often begin talking to themselves to combat their inevitable loneliness. Although there are often many prisoners at a time in solitary confinement, they are nowhere near one another. Solitary confinement can bring forth physical and mental anguish in someone who didn’t even know such extremes existed.
Solitary confinement implicated in prisons today is considered by many, to be an important civil rights issue. Solitary confinement also disproportionally affects people of color. Despite the evidence, states are not required to keep statistics of who is held in these segregated facilities or what race those people are.
10 White Torture
White torture is a form of psychological torture that includes sensory deprivation and isolation.
White torture is often used in Middle Eastern countries, like Iran, where it is practiced on political prisoners. Sensory deprivation is allegedly the CIA’s “favorite” torture technique. This type of psychological torture involves removing stimuli from the five senses- light, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
Sensory deprivation is considered a first level of torture used to induce confessions and retrieve information from suspected terrorists. Simple devices like blindfolds, hoods, or earmuffs are often used to cut off sight and hearing. More complex devices exist to further cease the senses of smell, touch, and taste; even heat-sense (thermoception) and sense of gravity can be simulated to deprive someone.
Deprivation of light and sound, especially, can have drastic effects on a human’s well-being. Victims of sensory deprivation have cited hallucinations, heightened sense of smell, and even the sense of an evil presence in the room as a result of such torture.
9 No-Touch Torture
No-touch torture is a method of psychological torture rumored to have been used in the United States in the past. The U.S. government denies, to this day, any claims that they have implicated this type of torture on people.
The technologies used during no-touch torture are still classified as state secrets. The torture method had been leaked by American citizens who have survived the no-touch torture program.
The assumption is that no-touch torture was used for revenge, punishment, interrogation, and behavior modification. However, this form of torture has shown to be unreliable and often induces false confessions from victims.
Some of the forms of no-touch torture can include the induction of a depressive or manic state, memory erasure, electricity and shocks, fear and terror, dietary manipulation or forced sickness, sexually disturbing tailored pornography, personal and spiritual defamation, and psychological intimidation.
Such torture methods can take days or months to build up to their full capacity. Pain and fear of death are common tactics to use among interrogations, but it is often unseen pain and fear that will cause the most damage.
8 Threat Of Permanent, Severe Disfigurement
Threatening someone with the alleged intention of permanently and severely disfiguring them is a form of psychological torture. Physical disfigurement does not even necessarily have to occur; the severity of the threat alone can be quite detrimental to a human’s psyche.
The threat that another person can also apply to the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures that are intended to disrupt the senses or personality.
The constant threat of physical torture can have long-term permanent or prolonged mental harm. Often with this type of torture, the violence is incremental by nature and injuries are not visible, which causes the victims to downplay its traumatic effects.
This also makes it difficult for those unfamiliar with this form of torture to understand the severity of the pain that they have endured or to prove it in formal juridical proceedings.
Public shaming is a unique type of manipulation and psychological torture. For instance, if a person is photographed naked without knowledge, and then those photos are passed around in a public forum, where people gawk and stare and their naked body— it is a form of shaming.
This happens quite frequently in the form of cyberbullying with teenagers in school. Teens often send nude photos to one another, thinking that it will never be seen, and then that person shows the entire class. These people often become outcasts in the community. A lot of the time, victims end up leaving the area or living with a great amount of shame and sorrow.
Back in primitive tribal regions, the public shaming that would be cast upon a deserving member may also extend to immediate family members as well. Meaning, they will suffer the consequences of the victim just because they are related.
6 Chinese Water Torture
Chinese water torture is one of the most familiar forms of torture. This type of psychological torture is carried out with single drops of water that fall repeatedly onto the head of a constrained individual.
Although the water is physically touching the person, this is still considered a psychological torture method because the drops do not physically harm the person. Instead, the constant drops of water become a relentless force, which causes the mind to wander, inducing a great amount of mental agony.
This form of torture is credited to Hippolytus de Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century. He originally had been observing how drops of water falling one by one on a stone eventually created a hollow in the rock. He then applied this method to the human body, because, why not?
In ancient history when Chinese water torture was implemented, the victim was also subject to being stripped naked and mocked by bystanders.
5 Music Torture
Music is often thought often thought as a form of entertainment, but did you know that it is also used as a form of torture?
The term music torture is used to describe the practice of playing loud music incessantly to people being held captive. Currently, both the European Court of Human Rights and United Nations have banned the use of loud music during interrogations.
Music at such extremely loud volumes creates a vibration which travels deep within a person’s bones and violates their well-being. Music torture has been used in totalitarian regimes throughout the 20th century and in a variety of other contexts from the middle ages until now.
A lot of the music in our culture is considered extremely offensive in others. Detainees are also often deprived of sleep while being forced to listen to such music.
Fun Fact: The most popular songs used by the CIA to torture are Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” “Take Your Best Shot” by Dope, “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera, and “Babylon” by David Gray (for the biblical connotations in the title).
4 Environmental Manipulation
Environmental manipulation creates a psychologically coercive environment for the detainee by forcing them to adapt to a series of small, seemingly invisible steps. Each step is sufficiently small enough that the subject does not notice the changes or identify the coercive nature until much later on, if ever at all. These torture tactics can be implemented in a group setting. Victims often are deceived by perceived friends and allies.
Environmental manipulation causes emotional distress and impacts cognitive processes, values, ideas, attitudes, conduct, and ability to reason or make decisions. Changing a person’s environment can also refer to the sudden rejection of their information or opinions, setting permissible topics to discuss, and having strict control over their communication.
The manipulation of a person’s environment without their control creates a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the person to intense and confusing actions which are intense and often conflict each other. You can understand why this constant form of torture is likely to create anxiety.
3 Stress Positions
Stress positions are often known as submission positions. Stress positions place the human body in a way that places a great amount of weight on one or two muscles of the body. For instance, a prisoner may be subject to stand on the balls of his feet or squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground.
This form of torture creates a disproportionate amount of stress causing discomfort at first and eventually leads to intense, long-term pain.
Stress positions were often implemented at Guantanamo. Detainees were subject to “short-chaining,” which is when they are restrained in uncomfortable positions where a seated detainee cannot sit up straight and a standing detainee cannot quite stand up straight.
This technique of torture is referred to as an “enhanced interrogation technique” that political officials have justified in the past as necessary by means of safety and security.
Other positions include something called a “strappado,” which places an extreme amount of stress on the shoulders, causing an unbearable amount of pain, sometimes leading to dislocation and nerve and ligament damage.
2 Pharmacological Torture
Pharmacological torture is the use of psychotropic or other drugs to punish or extract information from a detained individual. The goal of pharmacological torture is to force compliance by causing distress in the form of mental pain, anxiety, psychological disturbance, immobilization, or disorientation.
A popular form of pharmacological torture used in the Middle East was to forcibly inject a person with addictive drugs in order to induce physical dependence. After an addiction is established, the drug is then withdrawn and then officials will begin the interrogation process. If the individual chooses to comply with the torturer’s demands, the drug is then given back to them. If the person decides to fight back or keep quiet, the withdrawal torture will continue.
In Brazil, various forms of pharmacological torture were used in the seventies, including the injection of alcohol into the tongue and scrotum. They also injected prisoners with drugs to induce seizures. The use of muscle relaxants was also reported to minimize physical injury when giving victims electric shocks.
1 Exploitation Of Phobias
The exploitation of phobias is often used by torturers who know their victims or are able to make the detainee reveal their fears. Torturers will devise specific situations that are specifically horrific for that individual and are designed to play on certain phobias.
People who are afraid of snakes, for example, might be placed in a room filled with snakes and no way out. Maybe spiders are what gets ya? How about being confined, unable to move, with a dozen hairy tarantulas crawling over your body?
Rather than deal with the traumatic fear which is right before them, individuals often mentally shut down and their heads fall into a daze. Phobias upon which torturers can prey upon include anything from the fear of heights to the sight of blood.
This method was another favorite of the CIA and was used often at Guantanamo Bay and eventually spread to U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.
THE EFFECTS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE
Daniel Kramer ’111
Many interrogation techniques employed at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere were specifically
designed to exploit psychological weaknesses of detainees. Rather than “break” the body, these
techniques could “break” the minds of detainees or induce their cooperation with interrogators,
while leaving no physical marks. While some interrogation methods have been characterized as
harsh or brutal, these descriptions generally rely on lay perceptions of the degree of physical pain
associated with techniques like stress positions or exposure to extreme temperatures. In
surveying the scientific literature, this paper corrects some persistent misconceptions about
torture, concluding that some of the most deleterious effects of “enhanced interrogation
techniques” are not physical at all, but distinctly psychological. Yet these effects are no less
Where did the enhanced interrogation techniques used at Guantánamo originate? In
1963, the Central Intelligence Agency compiled the historical understanding of such noninvasive interrogation techniques into a how-to guide titled KUBARK Counterintelligence
Interrogation, informally known as the KUBARK manual. The U.S. military used the
information to construct a program called Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) to train
members of the military to resist KUBARK techniques, should they be captured and tortured, in
order to avoid making a false confession.
In 2002, Dr. Bruce Jessen, a SERE psychologist, “reversed engineered” SERE tactics by
adapting training methods to resist torture to develop an “exploitation oriented” approach for use
1 The author is a J.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (2011). He conducted this
work as an intern in the school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic under the supervision of Clinical Professor
of Law Laurel E. Fletcher. 2
by interrogators on detainees at Guantánamo. SERE training includes waterboarding, sleep
deprivation, isolation, stress positions, hooding, loud music and flashing lights, treating captives
like animals, exposure to extreme temperatures, and forced nudity.2 One reason why the
propriety of such reverse engineering remains a heated question is that the stakes for crossing the
line between merely asking questions and committing torture are so high. “As bad as physical
torture is, psychological torture can in the long run be much worse,” stated Dr. Frank Summers, a
psychologist specializing in the effects of severe emotional disturbance. “Because if somebody
breaks your leg or breaks your arm, that can heal. But if somebody breaks down your mind, you
may never get it back.”3
The effects of interrogation techniques that leave no lasting physical injuries warrant
further clarification. In some circumstances, non-physical techniques may rise to the level of
torture as a matter of international and domestic law. However, for psychologists who work with
torture survivors, their primary concern is not to make a legal conclusion about abuse to which
their patient was subjected but to understand and treat the harm caused by such techniques.
Studies of torture victims show that techniques such as sensory overload and sexual humiliation
can cause severe psychological pain and suffering. Victims of psychological torture—
understood in the literature as torture that leaves no lasting physical marks—report similar levels
of pain and suffering as victims of more physically aggressive torture at the time of the abuse,
and suffer similar health effects over time. Indeed, one recent study demonstrated that
“psychological stressors cannot be easily distinguished from physical torture in terms of their
relative psychological impact.”4 Common chronic health effects of psychological torture include
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Going one step further and
explaining the severe threat that high stress levels pose to the autonomic nervous system and
basic gastrointestinal and circulatory system functioning, Dr. Rona M. Fields, a psychologist
with expertise in violence and terrorism, wrote: “There is no longer any basis for arguing” that
the use of such techniques “neither does organ damage nor endangers life itself.”5
2 Senate Committee on Armed Services, Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees, xiii. 3 Telephone Interview with Frank Summers, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Chicago Institute for
Psychoanalysis (Feb. 25, 2010). 4 Basoglu, “Torture vs Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment,” 283.
5 Fields, “Neurobiological Consequences of Psychological Torture,” 153.3
HOW PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE WORKS
Psychological torture breaks down the human mind through a powerful assault on the victim’s
“basic conditions for mental survival.”6 Psychologists refer to these conditions as
“homeostasis,” originally a term of physiology referring to the ability of an organism to adjust
internally to maintain a stable equilibrium even in response to external changes. Under normal
circumstances, an individual will respond to disruptions in homeostasis through periods of
readjustment. However, the stress applied in torture, including psychological torture, is designed
to elicit “[h]igh levels of arousal without the appropriate action that allows arousal to readjust.”7
While these concepts of homeostasis and readjustment are abstract in concept, their
application is quite concrete. Because torture techniques deny different needs of victims, they
disrupt homeostasis in different ways. Dr. Uwe Jacobs, a neuropsychologist and expert on the
health effects of torture, lays out two examples.8 First, humans require constantly changing
stimuli. When individuals are placed in highly artificial environments that deny them any
stimuli, through a technique called sensory deprivation, the individual’s “entire arousal system
Second, on the other side of this spectrum, torturers target the complementary human
need for moderation of stimuli, by placing victims in environments that overwhelm the senses.
Under ordinary circumstances, when stimuli become too strong for the human brain to
accommodate, an individual will use defense maneuvers to reduce the stress. Humans will
naturally seek to evade the stimuli, habituate to it, and distract themselves from it, usually in that
To fill the void, a person will invent stimuli. Within only a few hours
of sensory deprivation, victims experience hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms.
6 Jacobs, “Documenting the Neurobiology of Psychological Torture,” 165–67.
A technique known variously as sensory overload, sensory bombardment, and sensory
assault is designed to couple intense stimuli with disruption of these defense mechanisms. Like
sensory deprivation, this requires highly artificial environments—a boombox blasting unfamiliar
7 Ibid. (emphasis added).
8 Ibid. 9 Ibid.
10 Ibid. at 166.4
music at extremely high volume towards a captive in a cell, for example. Dr. Jacobs provides
Prisoner 063 at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility was reportedly put on a
swiveling chair by Major John Leso . . . so that he would be unable to fix his
gaze. The prisoner was presumably trying to erect a barrier between himself and
his interrogators by maintaining control of this bodily function and refocusing
In response to ongoing shouting from his interrogators, this detainee was attempting to mitigate
his stress response through a natural evasion to give himself a chance to readjust to his
surroundings. Placement in the swivel chair denied the detainee the ability to accommodate the
COGNITIVE AND NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE TECHNIQUES
In general, the enhanced interrogation techniques, used singly and in conjunction with one
another, significantly raise the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression,
and anxiety. The psychological and neurobiological sequelae12
Sleep appears to play an important role in essential cognitive processes such as memory
and insight formation. Sleep deprivation causes significant cognitive impairments including
deficits in memory, learning, logical reasoning, complex verbal processing, and decisionmaking.
(disease symptoms) of individual
techniques can be unique due to the particular ways that a technique disrupts homeostasis, as
13 Behaviorally, sleep deprivation also results in mood alteration and declines in
psychomotor performance.14 It can alter the course and outcome of depressive disorder, and
increases the risk of suicidal ideation and actions.15
Sexual humiliation, such as forcing a male detainee to wear women’s underwear on his
11 Ibid. 12 Sequelae are pathological conditions resulting from previous injury or disease. 13 Kim, “Effect of Total Sleep Deprivation,” 127. 14 Liebermann, “Effects of Caffeine, Sleep Loss, and Stress,” 250. 15 Billiard, “Is insomnia best categorized as a symptom or a disease?” S35; Breslau, “Sleep disturbance,” 411.5
head, is strongly correlated with PTSD, depression, nightmares, and flashbacks. But the extreme
stress of traumatic sexual humiliation also involves a peculiar sense of self-loss, which Dr. J.P.
Wilson, an internationally recognized expert in the field of PTSD, describes as “a loss of selfcontinuity and self-sameness; a loss of coherent and cohesive sense of self.”16
Scholarly surveys of torture survivors demonstrate that threats to the victim or victim’s
family or friends can induce extreme fear and loss of control, and are strongly correlated over
time with PTSD and major depression. Intense anxiety is another major result of such threats,
causing dysfunction in social and family settings and raising the risk of self-harm.
The process is
geared toward inducing in the victim an intense helplessness and stripping the individual of any
human dignity. Victims often feel ashamed and hold themselves responsible for violating
cultural and religious taboos. It is precisely for this ability to target the very identity of the
victim that torturers may employ this technique.
Sensory bombardment, through noise and light, triggers shock responses that cause the
victim to release stress and pain hormones and chemicals in the brain, which over time
encourage the victim to withdraw from reality and lose organization of thought.18 The technique
is often used in conjunction with sleep deprivation, as a sleep disruptor, further harming
cognitive functioning. As Dr. Judy Okawa, a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma
survival characterizes these effects simply: “People break under this bombardment; our nervous
system is not meant to handle it.”19
Isolation and sensory deprivation risk a host of psychological harms. These techniques
encourage dependence on the interrogator, since the victim, desperately seeking human contact,
has no one else. Dr. Okawa tells the story of one of her patients kept in prolonged isolation in
He was so desperate to hear the voice of the prison guard—he was only fed once
a day, a little bit of oats and gruel—that he stopped accepting his oatmeal in the
16 Physicians for Human Rights, Leave No Marks, 28. 17 Ibid. at 20; Basoglu, “Psychiatric and cognitive effects,” 79–81. 18 Ising, “Health Effects caused by noise,” 5. 19 Telephone Interview with Judy Okawa, Psychologist, Center for Traumatic Stress Studies (Mar. 3, 2010).6
morning, because he was so desperate for the guard to at least chastise him.20
Isolation and sensory deprivation may also cause severe anxiety, hallucinations, an inability to
think or concentrate, psychosomatic complaints, temporal and spatial disorientation, and
psychiatric disorders. Physical responses also manifest, which include loss of motor
coordination, abnormal neuroendocrine function,21
Finally, neurobiologists have documented that psychological torture techniques affect the
biology of the human brain. These so-called “non-injurious” techniques can result in a loss of
brain mass by inhibiting the regeneration of brain cells. They can also produce abnormal slow
wave activity in the brain, which indicates brain pathology and dysfunctional neural tissue.
Researchers have also documented that such techniques can cause impairment of the
hippocampus (a component of the brain) which plays an important role in spatial navigation and
changes in blood pressure, and inflammatory
PHYSICAL V. PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE: ADISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE?
Psychological torture shares several characteristics with physical torture. As Professor
Almerindo Ojeda explains, in the context of stress positions, psychological torture pertains not to
the positions itself, “but to the psychological debilitation they produce in their victims.”
Nevertheless, “There is no question that prolonged standing, kneeling, and crouching can
produce pain and bodily harm that qualify as physical torture.”23
Psychological and physical
torture techniques may both cause psychological illnesses including PTSD, anxiety, and
depression. And, as Dr. Fields found: “Torture, whether inflicted by physical means such as
beatings, or psychological through, for example, environmental manipulation, inflicts pain
experienced in the brain and extending from there to all the different organs and physiological
21 Neuroendocrine functions involve both the nervous and endocrine (hormonal) systems. In the study described, the
researchers tested cortisol stress responses to behavioral stress tasks. Cortisol is a natural neuroendocrine steroid the
body uses to counteract stress and inflammation. Steptoe, “Loneliness and neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and
inflammatory stress responses,” 595.
22 Catani, “Tortured Brain,” 180–84; Fields, “Neurobiological Consequences of Psychological Torture,” 146–54. 23 Ojeda, “What Is Psychological Torture,” 3–4.7
In other words, the effects of psychological interrogation techniques can extend beyond
the obvious and physical, into the cognitive and neurological. Cursory analysis of the techniques
based on the level of immediate physical pain they cause is therefore inadequate. Since no other
clear dividing line between psychological and physical torture exists, rather than attempt to
identify a definitive property that practices must satisfy to be psychological torture,
psychologists define psychological torture as severe pain or suffering that occurs as a result of
one or several specific techniques which are used to break down a detainee psychologically.
These similarities can blur the line between psychological and physical torture,
prompting psychologists such as Dr. Fields to conclude that the differentiation between
psychological and physical torture is not particularly meaningful from the standpoint of injury
The proposed list of offending techniques includes isolation, spatial disorientation
(through confinement in small places), temporal disorientation (generally through isolation),
sensory disorientation, sensory deprivation, sensory overload (as through bright lights and loud
music), induced desperation (by proving to the victim that he or she is entirely helpless), threats,
feral treatment (forcing the victim to act like an animal), sexual humiliation, desecration
(especially religious), pharmocological manipulation, and psychological debilitation (“breaking
down the mind”) through stress positions, temperature manipulation, or deprivation of a basic
need like food, water, clothes, or sleep.25
The science of psychology cannot determine whether the “enhanced interrogation techniques”
employed against detainees in U.S. custody constitute torture as a matter of law. But the science
unequivocally demonstrates that deliberate assaults on the minds of detainees can be even more
destructive to their health and psyche than physical assaults.
24 Fields, “Neurobiological Consequences of Psychological Torture,” 139. 25 Ojeda, “What Is Psychological Torture,” 2–3.8
Andersen, H.S. et al. “A longitudinal study of prisoners on remand: repeated measures of
psychopathology in the initial phase of solitary versus nonsolitary confinement.”
International Journal of Law & Psychiatry 26 (2003): 165.
Basoglu, M. et al. “Psychological effects of torture: a comparison of tortured with nontortured
political activists in Turkey.” American Journal of Psychiatry 151 (1994): 76.
Basoglu, M. et al., “Torture vs Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment: Is the
Distinction Real or Apparent?.” Archives General Psychiatry 64 (2007): 277.
Billiard, M and A. Bentley. “Is insomnia best categorized as a symptom or a disease?” Sleep
Medicine Supp. 5 (2004): 1, S35.
Breslau, N. et al. “Sleep disturbance and psychiatric disorders: a longitudinal epidemiological
study of young adults.” Biological Psychiatry 39 (1996): 411.
Catani, Claudia et al. “The Tortured Brain.” In The Trauma of Psychological Torture, edited by
Almarendo E. Ojeda, 173. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
Dumond, W. R. “The Impact and Recovery of Prisoner Rape.”
Fields, Rona M. “The Neurobiological Consequences of Psychological Torture.” In The Trauma
of Psychological Torture, edited by Almarendo E. Ojeda, 139. Westport, CT: Praeger,
Haney, C. “Mental Health Issues in Long-Term Solitary and ‘Supermax’ Confinement.” Crime &
Delinquency 49 (2003): 124.
Ising, H. and B. Kruppa. “Health Effects caused by Noise: Evidence in the Literature from the
Past 25 Years.” Noise and Health 6 (2004): 5.
Jacobs, Uwe. “Documenting the Neurobiology of Osychological Torture: Conceptual and
Neurobiological Observations.” In The Trauma of Psychological Torture, edited by
Almarendo E. Ojeda, 163. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
Kennedy, P. and L.R. Hamilton. “Psychological impact of the management of methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in patients with spinal cord injury.” Spinal Cord
35 (1997): 617.
Kim, D. J. et al. “The effect of total sleep deprivation on cognitive functions in normal adult
male subjects.” International Journal of Neuroscience 109 (2001): 127.
Lieberman, H. R. et al. “Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and
mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training Sea-Air-Land.” Psychopharmacology 164 (2002):
Mayer, Jane. The Dark Side. New York: Doubleday, 2008.
Metternich, F.U. and T. Brusis. “Acute hearing loss and tinnitus caused by amplified recreational
music.” Laryngorhinootologie 78 (1999): 614.
Ojeda, Almarendo E. “What Is Psychological Torture.” In The Trauma of Psychological Torture,
edited by Almarendo E. Ojeda, 1. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights First. “Leave No Marks: Enhanced
Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality (2007).”
Silcove et al. “The impact of torture on post-traumatic stress symptoms in war-afflicted Tamil
refugees and immigrants.” Comparative Psychiatry 43 (2002): 49.9
Steptoe, A. et al. “Loneliness and neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and inflammatory stress
responses in middle-aged men and women.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 29 (2004): 593.
Telephone Interview with Frank Summers, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Chicago
Institute for Psychoanalysis (Feb. 25, 2010).
Telephone Interview with Judy Okawa, Psychologist, Center for Traumatic Stress Studies (Mar.
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in
U.S. Custody. 110th Cong., 2d sess., November 20, 2008. Committee Print.
Wexler, Donald et al. “Sensory Deprivation.” American Medical Association Archives of
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and post-traumatic therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1989
Torture is the deliberate and systematic dismantling of a person’s identity and humanity.
Torture’s purpose is to destroy a sense of community, eliminate leaders and create a climate of
Beatings and psychological torture are the most common forms seen at the Center for Victims
of Torture™ (CVT). CVT clinicians have seen more sophisticated forms of torture over the
years, especially psychological torture, that do not leave physical scars. This makes it more
difficult for survivors to seek redress or make asylum claims.
In 2010, new clients to CVT reported the following forms of torture (many of these forms have
reportedly been used by the U.S.):
Physical Assaults, including beatings, prolonged enforced standing, hanging, suffocation,
burnings, electric shock, sexual assault and rape, and exposure to extreme heat or cold;
Psychological Torture, including verbal abuses, threats against family, friends and loved ones,
false accusations, forced choices, mock executions, and being forced to witness torture,
mutilation and murder of others;
Deprivation of Humane Conditions, including deprivation of food and water, being held in
isolation, restricted movement, blindfolding, sleep deprivation and withholding of medical care;
Sensory Over-Stimulation, including exposure to constant noise, screams and voices,
powerful lights and forced ingestion of drugs.
Effects of Torture
Long-term physical effects of torture include scars, headaches, musculoskeletal pains,
foot pains, hearing loss, dental pain, visual problems, abdominal pains,
cardiovascular/respiratory problems, sexual difficulties, and neurological damage.
Long-term psychological effects include difficulty concentrating, nightmares, insomnia,
memory loss, fatigue, anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Psychological torture is damaging
In CVT’s experience, psychological torture can be more damaging and cause more
severe and long-lasting damage than the pain of physical torture.
A recent study found that degrading treatment and psychological manipulation cause as
much emotional suffering and long-term mental health harm as physical torture.1
Torture vs Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment. Basoglu et al. Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume
64, March 2007. PDF available at: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/64/3/277649 Dayton Avenue St. Paul, MN 55104 612.436.4800 CVT@cvt.org www.CVT.org
Threats of Death or Injury
Survivors say mock executions left them feeling they were already dead.
Survivors relive these near-death experiences in their nightmares or flashbacks.
CVT clients have told us that they pleaded with their torturers to kill them, preferring real
death over the constant threat and intolerable pain it caused.
Sexual humiliation leads to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and
major depression; victims often have flashbacks or nightmares about their experiences;
male and female victims feel shame, grief and fear.
Forced nakedness creates a power differential, stripping the victims of their identity,
inducing immediate shame and creating an environment where the threat of sexual and
physical assault is always present.
At CVT, our Muslim women clients say sexual humiliation is so shaming, they cannot
admit it to their communities or families without fearing rejection.
Male victims feel degraded in their manhood, especially if the perpetrator was female.
Sensory Deprivation, including Solitary Confinement
All forms of sensory deprivation can have profound and long-lasting psychological
Effects of solitary confinement include depression, anxiety, difficulty with concentration
and memory, hypersensitivity to external stimuli, hallucinations, perception distortions,
paranoia and problems with impulse control.
The Berlin Center treated ex-political prisoners from East Germany who experienced
solitary confinement with sensory deprivation for long periods (from several months to
several years). Torture methods included sleep deprivation, long lasting interrogation
night and day and disorientation techniques. The prisoners reported that they no longer
trusted their own perceptions. They went through psychotic states with delusions and
hallucinations and experienced a total loss of cognitive function. (Physicians for Human
Causes a host of negative psychological effects, the most prominent is cognitive
Sleep-deprived individuals take longer to respond to stimuli and sleep loss causes
attention deficits, decreases short-term memory, speech impairments, perseveration and
inflexible thinking. These symptoms may appear after one night of total sleep
deprivation or after only a few nights of sleep restriction (5 hours of sleep per night).
Sleep restrictions can result in hypertension and other cardiovascular disease.
(Physicians for Human Rights)
The Anxiety Tips
Stress in the mind: The psychological effect of torture
When the stress grips your mind, then you should think that you have you have some excessive pressure on you. But, the pressure does not develop automatically on your mind. The reason is that you have to know the elements which are responsible for it. If you know it well, then you will able to relieve the stress from your mind as well.
In our mind always, a lot of desires, dreams and expectations move around. So, sometime these elements become so precious, then we cannot remove from our mind at any cost. After that, the stress gets in our mind. But, one thing is sure that if we control it wisely, then we will able to live our life comfortably.
Every man should have dreams but it should be achievable. The dreams which build the castle in the air, these kinds of dreams will inevitably bring the stress in your mind. You should follow your dream which you achieve in your lifetime without any trouble. But, in the reality, we see that sometime the unfulfilled dreams destroy the peace of mind and also develop depression, frustration and failure.
You should always remember that your dream should not swallow you; rather you should resist it from swallowing you. But, when you like to get your dreams within your capability, then you have to nourish it accordingly. So, in the course of time, you will able to achieve it. As soon as you mark your dream, then you have to hone your skills as well. The reason is that you have to prepare yourself for making it happen in the due course.
The ambition has a sky limit. So, more you are ambitious, more your life will be stressful as well. The reason is that your ambition will have no limit. So, you can expect the higher as much. When you fix your ambition wisely, then you have to strive for it at any cost. But, sometimes it does not work as your life gets under the tremendous pressure from all around.
On the way to your ambition fulfillment, you should not dislodge someone who is making obstruction in your way. Rather, you have to make the other way to get away from it and achieve your ambition as well.
After achieving your success, you should be cool and composed, so that everybody will know that you take your achievement casually. It will help to ease more pressure from the society surroundings as well.
This approach will count so many things which you will get in the course of time. Always try to enjoy your life stress-less, so you and your surrounding people can lead a healthy life as well.
You should know that the human wanting does not have any limit. If you able to control it , then your life will be free from the stress. Actually, you have to stop at the point where you think that you should put a full stop in the journey of your wanting. It will make your life happy and comfortable.
So, you can able to free yourself from the menace of stress, if you are very much aware of your ability and limitation well.
About The Author: Alia is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, travelling and reading books. She contributes to Hydroxycut.
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The effects of torture-related stressors on long-term complex post-traumatic symptoms in South Korean torture survivors
Hyunjung Choi 1, Hoon-Jin Lee 2, Hwa-Young Lee 3
PMID: 27145739 DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12276
This study explored whether perceived distress from specific stressors during and after torture explain long-term complex post-traumatic symptoms of South Korean torture survivors. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of survivors who had been tortured by the homeland regime from the 1970s to the 2000s. Data from 206 survivors were gathered by key informants using target sampling and snowballing techniques. Project staff designed scales to encompass the specific types of stressors related to torture techniques used in Korea. Frequencies and distress ratings of exposure to torture, post-torture psychosocial stressors and physical damage related to torture were gathered. Psychological symptoms were assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised-Korean version and subscales of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised-Korean version. Perceived distress from torture stressors was mainly divided into factors representing physical, psychological and deprivation torture by adapting a principal axis factor analysis. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that distress from psychological torture explained post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that distress from deprivation explained PTSD and anxiety after controlling for demographic variables, psychological preparedness, time span since torture and distress from trauma other than torture. Among post-torture stressors, distress from physical damage related to torture and social exclusion were strong indicators of complex symptoms.
Keywords: Complex post-traumatic stress; Physical damage; Social exclusion; Torture.
Refugees endure incredible adversity, including torture. Although many refugees report traumatic stress reactions, they also demonstrate considerable resilience. Among refugees, torture survivors have demonstrated greater symptom severity as well as greater resilience than those who have not reported torture. The contrast of these results suggests potential mediators. Psychological inflexibility is one process predictive of posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, this process has rarely been studied among refugees or survivors of torture. Thus, we examined psychological inflexibility as a mediator between torture and traumatic stress symptoms among resettled refugees (n = 71; 55% female; mean age = 41.48; 63% reported torture). Psychological inflexibility fully mediated the relationship between torture status and traumatic stress symptoms in two simple mediation models. Results demonstrate the impact of psychological inflexibility on refugee mental health and have implications for clinical care.