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Why do psychologically healthy individuals join cults?

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Gabby Gonzalez

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of Why do psychologically healthy individuals join cults?

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"
self incrimination
suicide drills
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
Peer-group pressure
Rejection of old values
in Cults
Deindividuation: dress codes, name change, etc
Lack of privacy
flaunting hierarchy
financial commitment
chanting and singing: repetition of mind narrowing phrases
time sense deprivation: removal of clocks
confusing doctrine
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
diet change
discouraging questions
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.
Wrap Up
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)
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