What Is Gaslighting In Behavioral Science?

In psychology, gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or group seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It is often done in an attempt to gain more power or control over the victim.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1938 play “Gas Light” and the 1940 and 1944 film adaptations, in which a husband attempts to convince his wife that she is going insane by manipulating small details of their environment, such as the lighting or the location of objects.

Gaslighting can take many forms, but common tactics include denying that certain events or conversations took place, manipulating evidence or surroundings to confuse the victim, and calling the victim’s memory or perception into question. It can be especially effective when it is done gradually over a long period of time, as the victim may not realize that they are being manipulated.

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