By Patrick Mondout
Margaret Thaler Singer (1921 -2003) was a clinical psychologist
and emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California,
Berkeley, USA. Dr. Singer was born in Denver and received her bachelor's,
master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver. In the 1950s
she had was a leading researcher in the field of psychosomatic medicine.
She began to study brainwashing in the 1950s at Walter Reed Institute
of Research in Washington, D.C., where she interviewed U.S. soldiers who
had been taken prisoner during the Korean War. She moved to Berkeley in
1958. Dr. Singer began studying cults in the late 1960s.
She was also very active in the fields of communication and family
therapy and for eight years a member of the Board of Directors of Family
One of her stated fields of expertise that made her famous was cults,
mind control ("psychological coercion") and similar areas, in
which she published prolifically and received a number of honors (Leo J.
Ryan Memorial Award, Research Scientist Award, president of the American
Margaret Singer was President of the American Psychosomatic Society
Singer is popularly known for co-writing the book Cults
in Our Midst. Publisher's Weekly wrote: "Clinical
psychologist Singer, emeritus professor at Berkeley, and former cult
member Lalich (coauthor of Captive Hearts, Captive Minds) here
present an instructive report on the cult phenomenon, which they regard as
a growing menace around the world. They define cults as organizations that
feature 'coordinated programs of coercive influence and behavioral
control,' many religiously or politically oriented and increasingly
centered on New Age self-improvement techniques that they claim are now
being peddled to businesses."
She dominated anti-cult theory (such as her Theory of Systematic
Manipulation of Social and Psychological Influence) and was on the board
of the American Family Foundation, the major anti-cult group in the United
States. She headed the Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of
Persuasion and Control (DIMPAC) in 1987 for the APA. When her findings
were rejected by the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for
Psychology (BSERP) for "[lacking] the scientific rigor and evenhanded
critical approach necessary" she sued the APA and lost in 1993. She
testified, with variable success, on mind control in numerous trials in
the 1980s and 1990s. She was involved with studying Patty
Hearst, and the Branch Davidians.
Dr. Margaret Singer died on November 23, 2003 in Berkeley, California.
She was 82.
- Shana Alexander, Anyone's
Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patricia Hearst,
- Carolyn Anspacher & the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Trial of Patty Hearst, Great Fidelity Press, 1976.
- Marilyn Baker, Exclusive!:
the inside story of Patricia Hearst and the SLA, Macmillan
- Mary F. Beal, Safe
House: A Casebook Study of Revolutionary Feminism in the 1970's,
Northwest Matrix, 1976.
- Jerry Belcher & Don West, Patty/Tania,
Pyramid Books, 1975
- David Boulton, The
Making Of Tania Hearst, Bergenfield, N.J., U.S.A.: New American
- John Bryan, This
Soldier Still At War, (on Joe Remiro) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
- Patty Hearst with Alvin Moscow, Patty
Hearst: Her Own Story, New York: Avon, 1982. This was the title
after the movie came out. Original title: Every Secret Thing.
- Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah:
The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002.
- Janey Jimenez (U.S. Marshal who escorted Hearst between prison and the
court during the trial) with Ted Berkman, My
Prisoner, Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1977.
- Jean Brown Kinney, An
American journey: The short life of Willy Wolfe, Simon and Schuster,
- Vin McLellan, Paul Avery, The
voices of guns: The definitive and dramatic story of the twenty-two-month
career of the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre chapters
in the history of the American Left, Putnam, 1977.
- John Pascal, The
Strange Case of Patty Hearst, New American Library, 1974.
- Findley & Craven Payne, Life
and Death of the SLA, Ballantine, 1976.
- Robert Brainard Pearsall, Symbionese
Liberation Army: Documents and Communications, Rodopi, 1974
- Fred Soltysik, In
Search of a Sister 1976.
- Steven Weed, with Scott Swanton. My
Search for Patty Hearst, New York: Warner, 1976. Weed was Hearst's
boyfriend at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their
- Video: Patty
Hearst, based on Every Secret Thing, directed by Paul
- Video: The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
- Video: Patty Hearst: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000) (TV)
- Video: Neverland:
The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army aka Guerrilla:
The Taking of Patty Hearst, Directed by Robert Stone, 2004,