Tim Boucher wrote back in 2005:
As far as I understand it (which admittedly is nothing close to first-hand experience), trauma-based mind control is kind of similar to the whole favorite-album phenomenon. The idea is basically that you condition the mind according to certain stimuli. When you experience a sensory trigger, a correlated interior state is achieved. The most common example of this is called Classical or Pavlovian Conditioning:
Classical Conditioning is the type of learning made famous by Pavlov’s experiments with dogs. The gist of the experiment is this: Pavlov presented dogs with food, and measured their salivary response (how much they drooled). Then he began ringing a bell just before presenting the food. At first, the dogs did not begin salivating until the food was presented. After a while, however, the dogs began to salivate when the sound of the bell was presented. They learned to associate the sound of the bell with the presentation of the food. As far as their immediate physiological responses were concerned, the sound of the bell became equivalent to the presentation of the food.
Other types of behavioral conditioning exist as well, with “operant conditioning” relating to the reinforcement or punishing of behavior. For our current purposes though, the easiest way to understand all this is through Pavlov’s dogs salivating when they hear a bell, or us being flooded by emotions when we hear a song we’ve not heard for many years.
Trauma & Dissociation
Now, listening to a record over and over may be a lot of fun, but it’s not the most significant physical stimulus available to us. Extremes of pleasure and pain may go well beyond that, triggering far greater physiological responses and long-term effects. Imagine instead of listening to a record over and over again, you are severely beaten repeatedly, or subjected to electric shocks. And at varying intervals to this, you are in turn sexually abused. Maybe this goes on for months or years. It’s not very difficult to imagine that such events would seriously contort your psyche in unimaginable ways. Especially if these things were combined and overlaid with other types of classical and operant conditioning.
Read more here. Also interesting are the post’s comments, wherein it is suggested that 9/11 was “a trigger to an alter personality in the collective american psyche.” Which leads me to wonder if the U.S.’s torture regime is not designed to get accurate information–a purpose for which torture is increasingly known to be ineffective–but to coerce obedience, including as a veiled threat to American citizens. Or if it was designed at all.