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Are we truly in command of our own minds? Can a word or gesture turn us into puppets for others to control? To find out, a team of leading experts and researchers will attempt to pull off an experiment that some say should have never been conducted: to see if ordinary, law-abiding citizens can be brainwashed to take action beyond their control and turned into assassins.
"Brainwashed," airing Sunday, Oct. 28 at 9 PM E/P on Discovery Channel's CURIOSITY series, follows a group of individuals who agree to participate in a televised study about hypnosis. However, what they don't know is that over the next few days, each will be asked to complete a series of increasingly demanding tasks, designed to whittle down the most susceptible to hypnosis and commanded to kill.
Some researchers believe the ability to control a person's mind is simply fiction, like a scene from The Manchurian Candidate. While others suggest that brainwashing could have been behind some of the most shocking crimes in history such as the assassination of Robert Kennedy or Patty Hearst's participation in crimes with her kidnappers. What's the truth? Are such sensational claims even possible? Can the human mind be programmed?
Hypnotist Tom Silver, tasked with leading the group through the activities, believes hypnosis can be used as tool to heal but needs to be respected. "I believe hypnosis does have the potential to control someone's mind and actions," he said. "That's something that a lot of hypnotherapists don't want to talk about - it's something they're scared of."
In this ground-breaking experiment, CURIOSITY taps into the minds of these unsuspecting individuals to see whether it's possible to strip away a person's free will and ultimately carry out a task that most would never think possible.
CURIOSITY, now in its second season on Discovery Channel, brings the 'I wonder?' moment to television with a unique array of provocative subjects. The next episode, airing Sunday, Nov. 4, looks at the latest scientific research - combined with CGI technology - to expose a cell's daily struggles against enemy intruders.