An eye-opening look at the world of manipulation, and what we can do to recognise and resist the daily attempts to control and influence our minds.

“Manipulation is not new. But today’s combination of technology, social media and AI, combined with marketing and behavioural science, is new in its sophistication and scale. Everyone wants to know their own mind. To do that, you have to be able to understand and resist attempts to influence your mind.” – Laura Dodsworth and Patrick Fagan

You’re manipulated all day every day. We all are. Our social media feeds, our governments, our friends and family, even the humble waiter who asks, “Still or sparkling?” – they’re all conspiring to influence what we think, feel and do. It’s turbocharged in the era of big data and AI, and if you think you’re not being influenced, you’re probably the most influenceable of all.

Fortunately, bestselling author of A State of Fear Laura Dodsworth and former Cambridge Analytica behavioural scientist Patrick Fagan have joined forces to show you what’s up the magician’s sleeve.

Free Your Mind is your field guide to navigating this information battlefield. Join Dodsworth and Fagan in a live discussion on powerful psychological principles like ‘nudging’, cutting-edge science and anonymous insider access. They draw on interviews with mind-control experts ranging from monks to magicians, to uncover their most deceptive techniques and expose the hidden tactics used to influence you, from social media to subliminal messages. They also did the fieldwork so you don’t have to, joining forums, courses, cults and digital detoxes.

Free Your Mind is urgent, discussing how agendas are secretly pushed into our favourite TV shows, how politicians manipulate search engine algorithms, and how weird symbolism makes its way into pop music videos. The book teaches you how to stand your ground, speak up first, and exorcise your demons. It gives you practical and sometimes surprising directions, including to meditate, turn off your TV and stop watching porn – all to help you free your mind.

Audience members are welcome to book dinner in the Athenaeum dining room after the event, or to have a drink in the News Room. Further details are given with your ticket purchase.

Laura Dodsworth
Laura is an author, journalist, photographer and commentator. She is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller A State of Fear, as well as a trilogy of books about the body.

Patrick Fagan
Patrick is a behavioural scientist with 12 years’ experience of mind manipulation. Previously lead psychologist at Cambridge Analytica, he is now a part-time lecturer and runs several data consultancies. He is the author of Hooked: Why cute sells and other marketing magic we can’t resist.