New theoretical approaches to the study of the phenomenon of gaslighting



Gaslighting is typically viewed as a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt his or her sense of reality and leads to a loss of agency and mental stability. It was spotted over 60 years ago and has long been the subject of study by psychiatrists. Recently, interest in the phenomenon of gaslighting has grown significantly, becoming the subject of research by scientists of various scientific disciplines, which inevitably leads to the expansion of the meaning of this phenomenon and endowing it with additional properties. Psychology is thought to have contributed to this process through the study of symbolic interactionism, attachment theory, self-verification theory, and shared reality. This article presents the dynamics of the development of this term, defines the main features of this phenomenon, and analyzes the basis on which new approaches to the study of gaslighting in modern international psychology are built. The most common assumption in the latest studies is that gaslighting is possible when standard social-cognitive mechanisms are involved in atypical social situations. Relationships with significant others largely determine people's epistemic needs: close people shape and reflect an individual's self-image and perception of the surrounding reality. It is this special position of loved ones that gives gaslighters leverage over the victim.

General Information

Keywords: gaslighting, gaslighter, victim of gaslighting, violence, minimization of prediction errors, epistemic trust, intimate relationships, REM, psychological manipulation

Journal rubric: Social Psychology

Article type: review article


Received: 14.02.2024


For citation: Ermolova Т.V., Litvinov A.V., Balygina E.A., Chernova O.E. New theoretical approaches to the study of the phenomenon of gaslighting [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2024. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 128–138. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2024130112. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Тatiana V. Ermolova, PhD in Psychology, Head of the Chair of Foreign and Russian Philology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Alexander V. Litvinov, PhD in Education, professor of the chair of foreign and Russian philology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, associate professor at Foreign Languages Department at the Facultyof Economics (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elena A. Balygina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign and Russian Philology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Oxana E. Chernova, PhD in Education, Associate Prof. Chair of Foreign languages, Academy of Engineering, RUDN University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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