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Why do psychologically healthy individuals join cults?
Transcript of Why do psychologically healthy individuals join cults?
Obedience in Cults
- Nov. 18, 1978 = 912 dead
In American Psychological Association, Jones used 4 different techniques to learn the trust and receive the obedience* of others.
"Big Brother is watching you"
distorting peoples perception
*Healthy people join cults because "social psychology has shown the 'power of the crowd'". Many techniques can be implemented, but never think "well it will never happen to me."
Groupthink in Cults
What is a Cult?
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word cult as
1 : formal religious veneration : worship
2 : a system of beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
Cults are generally thought of as a group that has a set of beliefs, and members are extremely loyal to the beliefs and the leaders
Baron, S. R. (2001) Arousal, Capacity, and Intense Indoctrination. ICSA. Retrieved from http://icsahome.com/view_document1.asp?ID=4984
Cult Definition. (2009) What is a cults. Retrieved from www.cultdefinition.com
Dittmann, Melissa. (2003, November). Lessons from jonestown. American Psychological Association. 34(10), 36.
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.).(1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
Tyrell, I. (2006) Exploring the cult in culture. HGI. Retrieved from www.hgi.org.uk/archive/cults2.htm#.UmhFRZEqDwl
How do they work?
The HGI says that there are four factors to help make a cult operate
Compliance with the Group-
how obeidient a person is with the group, willingness, what members will do for the group
Dependence on the Leader-
make the leader the main person to depend on, this strengthens the members bond to the leader. The leader holds a very authoratarian position
Avoidance of Dissent-
different ideas are not included. The leaders views are the only views, the cults views are promoted everywhere so that members focuss on the groups views rather than outside views
Devaulation of Outsiders-
members view their ideas and the only right ideas and that others are wrong and bad to believe. Even torture or killing may happen in a cult to people who have different beliefs
Individuals are especially vulnerable to cult recruitment during late adolescence
Cut off from friends and family
Rejection of old values
Deindividuation: dress codes, name change, etc
Lack of privacy
chanting and singing: repetition of mind narrowing phrases
time sense deprivation: removal of clocks
meta-communication: stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures
love-bombing: hugging, touching, flattery to create sense of family (happens a lot when trying to recruit)
rewarding and punishing similar actions
other ways cults control:
Compliance: Inductee starts to do things that the group asks them to do (usually after isolation from friends/family).
Internalization: Begins to question beliefs of the group, sometimes to rationalize what they've done.
Consolidation: Makes excuses for the group that help them deal with what they have done and will do.
The reasons that people join cults is because of
group think (compliance, internalization, and consolidation)
conformity (isolation, deindividuation and peer pressure)
obedience (power of the crowd)