Cults - ISS 210 September 2008 Cults 3 dynamics of a cult:...

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ISS 210 September 2008 Cults 3 dynamics of a cult: insecure, inadequate, dependent Charismatic groups They consist of a dozen or more members They are characterized by the following psychological elements: members… o Have a shared belief system o Sustain a high level of social cohesiveness o Are strongly influenced by the group’s behavioral norms o Impute charismatic (or sometimes divine) power to the group or its leadership Cohesiveness The combination of intense social cohesiveness and strongly held shared belief allows for striking behavioral change The cognitive basis for conformity is a shared belief system Social cohesiveness, essential to the group’s integrity, is reflected in the close intertwining of the individual’s life circumstances with those of all group members When we are insecure we tend to select from our range of personality qualities those things that seem to be most consistent to those that judge us well (i.e. a girl not eating in front of a boy she’s just met) Attachment to a group will intensify if it is a nervous/insecure attachment Centralized relationships contain no options, no alternatives, just you and me o through the mechanisms of attachment centralized relationships enhance cohesion Proximity enhances cohesion Development of normative standards: as the ideology enhances and develops so does the cohesiveness of the group Neutral attraction enhances cohesion Dependency on the leader of the cult from its members and vice versa enhances cohesion Over a period of time different beliefs within the group tend to become more similar Q : ______ is a significant factor enhancing cohesion within a group 1) Enmeshed attachment (attachment to a group will intensify if it is a nervous/insecure attachment) 2) Out-group membership (tends to disengage the cohesiveness of in-groupness; no secure fusion between in-group relations) 3) Unclear ideologies (no particular reason of where we are going, how we are getting there, etc.; i.e. we tend to become like those we spend a lot of time with and reinforced shared ideologies) 4) Decentralized relations (decrease cohesion) 5) Minimal time spent in group-based activity
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ISS 210 September 2008 Sources (of cohesion) External: rival group competitiveness and conflict outside of the group increase cohesion Internal: dynamics, exchanges that are occurring within the group, emotional exchanges Q : Definitions of reality are most significantly impacted by: 1) Group cohesion 2) Control of negative feedback: information that a group gets in terms of its assessment as to how well what they are doing is helping to achieve their goals; necessary to maintain a competent connection with its environment; controlled by positive reinforcement within the group 3) Stable boundaries: what/who is of value 4) Ideological perspectives : one sees reality through the “lens” of ones beliefs The more engaged you are the stronger the relief effect becomes “Ideologies= paranoid delusions”
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2008 for the course ISS 210 taught by Professor Zimmerman during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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Cults - ISS 210 September 2008 Cults 3 dynamics of a cult:...

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