“Dark Persuasion – The History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media” – Joel E. DIMSDALE

Joel E. Dimsdale discusses his latest book Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media, which traces the evolution of brainwashing from its beginnings in torture and religious conversion into the age of neuroscience and social media.

JOEL DIMSDALE, MD, is distinguished professor emeritus and research professor in the department of psychiatry. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa and obtained his BA degree in biology from Carleton College. He then attended Stanford University, where he received both a MA degree in Sociology and an MD degree. He obtained his psychiatric training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then completed a fellowship in psychobiology at the New England Regional Primate Center. He was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School from 1976 until 1985, when he moved to University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

His clinical subspecialty is consultation psychiatry. He is an active investigator, a former career awardee of the American Heart Association, and is past-president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He has served on numerous editorial boards in psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, medicine, and pharmacology and is Section Editor of UpToDate. He is editor-in-chief emeritus of Psychosomatic Medicine, and is a previous guest editor of Circulation, Drug Therapy, Psychiatric Clinics of North America, J Psychosomatic Research, and International Journal of Hypertension. He has been a consultant to the President’s Commission on Mental Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and NASA and is a long-time reviewer for NIH. Dr. Dimsdale is the former Chair of the UCSD Academic Senate and is a recipient of the Oliver Johnson Award for distinguished leadership.

Dr. Dimsdale’s major research interests center on stress physiology and sleep; cultural factors in illness; quality of life; and psychological reverberations of the Holocaust.

Dr. Dimsdale is the author of >500 publications as well as the editor of many books.


1. Dimsdale JE. (ed) Survivors, Victims, and Perpetrators: Essays on the Nazi Holocaust. Washington DC: Hemisphere Publ. 1980.
2. Schneiderman N, Kaufmann P, Weiss S (eds), Handbook of Research Methods in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine. Joel Dimsdale, Section editor: Measurement issues in physiology-biochemistry; NY: Plenum. 1989
3. Dimsdale J, Baum A (eds) Quality of Life in Behavioral Medicine Research, LEA Publishers, Hillsdale, 1995
4. Eward A, Dimsdale J, Engel B, Lipsitt D, Oken D, Sapira J, Shapiro D, Weiner H, Toward an Integrated Medicine: Classics from Psychosomatic Medicine 1959-1979, American Psychiatric Press, Washington, 1995
5. Dimsdale J, Xin Y, Kleinman A, Patel V, Narrow W, Sirovatka P, Regier D (eds), Somatic presentations of Mental Disorders: refining the research agenda for DSM-V—a challenge for DSM-V, American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, VA., 2009
6. Dimsdale J (ed), Psychosomatic Medicine, Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Saunders, September, 2011
7. Committee for the Decadal Survey on biological and physical science in space. Recapturing a future for space exploration: life and physical sciences research for a new era, National Research Council (member of writing committee and steering committee), 2011
8. Gabbard G, Gabbard’s Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. Dimsdale J and Kaplan A (section editors: Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders and Eating Disorders, American Psychiatric Press, Washington , 2014, pages 539-600
9. Dimsdale J, Anatomy of Malice: the enigma of the Nazi war criminals, Yale Press, 2016 (also translated into 7 languages)

Source: UC San Diego



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