Margaret T. Singer

Regarding Cults, Most People Focus On the Charisma of the Leader, But the Important Concern is the Vulnerability of Each of Us to Influence

Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003)

Was a clinical psychologist and anti-cultist.

Singer's main areas of research included schizophrenia, family therapy, brainwashing and coercive persuasion. In the 1960s she began to study the nature of cults and mind control and served on the board of the American Family Foundation and as an advisory board member for the Cult Awareness Network. She is the co-author of the book Cults in Our Midst.

In 1987, as head of the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control for the American Psychological Association, Singer oversaw the production of a report that was later rejected by the APA's Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology. Thereafter, Singer's expert testimony in four subsequent cases was not accepted. In 1992 she unsuccessfully sued the APA for "defamation, frauds, aiding and abetting and conspiracy."


Career as psychologist

After obtaining her PhD, Singer worked at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, in their department of psychiatry for eight years.

Singer began to study brainwashing in the 1950s at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Institute of Research in Washington, D.C., where she interviewed U.S. soldiers who had been taken prisoner during the Korean War. Singer's research at Walter Reed has been described as "ground-breaking" within her field. She moved to Berkeley in 1958.

Singer's research also focused heavily on the areas of family therapy and schizophrenia. She conducted research with the National Institute of Mental Health, the United States Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



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