I hardly think it's useless as figuring out how to implant thoughts directly could be the stepping stone to the ultimate man machine interface.
However... putting thoughts in people's heads hasn't been that hard to do historically and it didn't need a lab.
Civilized people are basically sheep, something we've known for a very long time, and the outcome of the situation depends on how twisted the shepherd is. Some people are more domesticated than others and if you assume that even humans, at the top of the evolution ladder but still animals made of meat with predefined directives in DNA making some characteristics nature vs. nurture so some are built followers and others leaders.
If you don't think it's that easy check out the Silver Fox domestication project being done in Russia, Siberia I think, which was started in the 50s and they've already domesticated foxes to behave like dogs and the control group was bred to be as aggressive as possible and now it appears it's built right into the DNA and could be applicable to comparable DNA in humans.
We're obviously more complicated than foxes but being able to predict a violent tendency by DNA is closer than imaginable. Minority Report anyone?
Only weak minds are easily influenced.
Stockholm syndrome would appear to invalidate that concept as strong minds even tended to side with the captors.
FWIW, organized religion has been doing this research for thousands of years and peer pressure alone seems to have quite an impact in this area. The results seem to be YES, you can pretty much get people to think whatever you want them to if done properly.
More recent extreme examples would be Jonestown, Waco. Heaven's Gate, etc. because these people figured out how to get people to lay down and die for their cause, suicide bombers more specifically, and if that's not implanting thoughts I don't know what it is.
Can't ignore the notorious Charles Manson as a prime example of brain washing his followers.