This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Abnormal Behavior Of Cults Essay

1962 words - 8 pages

Introduction
Cults are rare. Due to this rarity they may be considered fascinating to the population. Which could explain why, when cults are mentioned interests peak. This interest is overwhelmingly negative, because the view individuals have of cults is negative in general (Olson, 2006). Although many people may not even be aware of what the word “cult” means. Definitions of cults vary, but overall they are defined as groups, either religious or non-religious, which have distinctive philosophies (Woody, 2009; Young & Griffith, 1992). Instead of understanding what cults actually are, people apply negative connotations to the word. These negative connotations may therefore overshadow the perception of cults. It is therefore essential to look at cults as a whole, including leaders, members, and behaviors, in order to understand them better.
Cult Leaders
Cult leaders are obviously central to the function of cults. The leaders, although different to every group, often share similar characteristics. Charisma is one of the main characteristics used to describe the leaders of cults. Such leaders tend to be characterized as charismatic (Eister, 1972; Schwartz & Kaslow, 2001; Tourish & Vatcha, 2005). The charisma found amongst cult leaders indicates that they are prone to:
Exaggerated self-descriptions, exaggerated claims for the vision, a technique of fulfilling stereotypes and images of uniqueness to manipulate audiences, a habit of gaining commitment by restricting negative information and maximizing positive information, use of anecdotes to distract attention away from negative statistical information, creation of an illusion of control through affirming information and attributing negative outcomes to external causes. (Tourish & Vatcha, 2005, p. 459)
These various features of charisma are not found in every cult leader, nor does every cult leader possess all of these features. Nevertheless, charisma is a characteristic found in many cult leaders’ personalities.
Another characteristic used to describe cult leaders is powerful. Leaders of cults are considered to be an authority figure which enables them to influence others (Salande & Perkins, 2011). The influence that these figures have also enables them to manipulate other people (Schwartz & Kaslow, 2001). Power does not only allow for influence and manipulation, it also helps to explain leaders’ authority over their cult members. Leaders are seen by members as more pure and spiritual, which is especially true for leaders who represent religious figures (Ward, 2011). The combination of features such as authority, manipulation, and influence among leaders of cults all add up to the characteristic of power.
The characteristics which many cult leaders possess can be labeled as narcissistic. Such characteristics, as described above, are found in Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Salande & Perkins, 2011; Ward, 2011). It is partially due to this narcissism that leaders believe themselves to be...

Find Another Essay On Abnormal Behavior of Cults

Cults Essay

1387 words - 6 pages Cults On March 29th, 1997, thirty nine men and women took their own lives in the belief that they would travel to a space ship hidden behind the Hale-Bop comet. The "Heaven's Gate" cult planted these beliefs within their members, resulting in a mass death. It is cults such as these that weave a sense of panic through society. What defines a cult? A cult is a group that has an intense devotion to a person, object, or set of

David Koresh and the Branch Davidians

900 words - 4 pages has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous” Cults are usually looked down upon by society because of their bizarre traditions, beliefs, customs. Most cults such as The People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate and The Branch Davidians end up dying by suicide or homicide. Knowing this, you might think more people would stay clear from cults. People join cults for various reasons. Some people might have grown up being social outcasts or

Life Span Perspective

601 words - 2 pages nature, but the common definition of the discipline of abnormal psychology often looks something like this:Abnormal psychology is the study of behavior patterns that diverge widely from generally accepted norms, especially those of a pathological nature.The common definition of normal behavior often looks something like this:Normal behavior is what is prescribed by the constraints of society.One simple way of parsing the difference between

Cults and Their Leaders

4154 words - 17 pages difficulty. For many scholars and professional commentators, the usage of the word "cult" applies to abusive behavior, and not to a belief system. For members of competing religions, use of the word remains pejorative and applies primarily to rival beliefs, and only incidentally to behavior. In the sociology of religion, the term cult is a part of the subdivision of religious groups into sects, cults, and denominations. In these terms, it is a neutral

Assignment 3: Challenges in Identifying Mental Disorders

867 words - 4 pages particular group. Keep in mind this doesn’t always go on well or correspond well to what people call abnormal. Many rare behaviors, such as collecting old books, stamps or cleaning your house and being very organized are all not considered abnormal. Statistical abnormality Functional behaviors or non-functions behavior all have a predisposition about them. Any behavior may be judged or viewed as abnormal. The use of statistically measures can

Cult or Religion

1551 words - 6 pages TBA “A cult is just a religion I don’t like.” “All religions are cults.” “Religion is just the search for truth.” We may have heard someone use one of these three statements to explain cult and religion. Yet, are the statements accurate? Though cult and religion do share some characteristics, they are set apart by their leadership, the amount of authority over their members, and the rigidity of their boundaries. Many people use the

Schizophrenia Case Study

1275 words - 5 pages Throughout psychology today there are six different theoretical models that seek to explain and treat abnormal functioning or behavior. These different models have been a result of different ideas and beliefs over the course of history. As psychology began to grow so did the improvements in research techniques. As a result psychologists are able to explain a variety of disorders in terms of the six different theoretical models. In the movie

Abnormal Psychology Paper

1008 words - 4 pages Abnormal psychology has progressed, changed and experienced controversy over the past 100 years that it has existed in its field of study. There are six core concepts in abnormal psychology that have remained the central field of study. The six core concepts in Abnormal Psychology are: The importance of context in defining and understanding abnormality. The continuum between normal and abnormal behavior. Cultural and historical relativism in

Abnormal Psychology

1008 words - 4 pages Abnormal psychology has progressed, changed and experienced controversy over the past 100 years that it has existed in its field of study. There are six core concepts in abnormal psychology that have remained the central field of study. The six core concepts in Abnormal Psychology are: The importance of context in defining and understanding abnormality. The continuum between normal and abnormal behavior. Cultural and historical relativism in

Social Psychology and Cults

2624 words - 10 pages leaders (cite). The concept of obedience was used in both cults. Obedience is responding to a demand by changing an attitude, behavior or action (cite). One obeys for many reasons, they may do so because there is an authority figure that is present. Another reason why a member obeys is that they are punished or rewarded depending if they obey or not. Finally, one may be obedient because they want to be viewed positively by others in the cult. In

Cults and Religious Freedom

1851 words - 8 pages portrayal of cults in pop culture television shows. In this article, Neal expresses how “the cult stereotype on fictional television replicates and perpetuates broader cultural understandings about acceptable and unacceptable religious behavior” (Neal, 15). This is significant because it demonstrates how, as a society we allow the stereotypes associated with cults to drive our perceptions and conclusions. Neal also touches upon the idea of

Similar Essays

Judging Between Abnormal And Normal Behavior With The Help Of David Rosenhan's “Who’s Crazy Here, Anyway?”

603 words - 2 pages Being able to determine the difference between normal and abnormal behavior is crucial in psychology, but how can someone judge someone’s sanity? It is difficult to put boundaries on such a “soft” area, but there are certain criteria to help in diagnosis. One factor is Bizarreness of the Behavior, which depends greatly on the context in which the behavior occurs. Another is Persistence of Behavior. People can show abnormal behavior without

The Abnormal Behavior Of Genocide Essay

1497 words - 6 pages The recently coined definition of genocide among scholars and international organizations varies throughout history; however, there is the common understanding that genocide is the intentional destruction of a large group of people who are often associated with a specific origin or denomination. According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), part two, article six, Genocide

Cult Activities And Psychological Manipulation Essay

695 words - 3 pages cult through their Pyramidal structure and regulation of member behaviors, but they are also classified as a cult through their psychological manipulation. Cults are identified as social groups with abnormal and unusual practices as well as aberrant beliefs, some being religious. The study of cults has been ongoing for many years and by many cultic psychologists. Ultimately, it has been determined that cults have different beliefs however they

Abnormality's In Psychology Essay

1469 words - 6 pages To each person the definition of what is considered normal and abnormal may vary. There are many different types of behaviors that a person may exhibit; these behaviors can be classified as normal or abnormal. However, there are many factors that pose a challenge in classifying normal and abnormal behavior. This paper will discuss religion, mind/body connection, culture, and how these and a variety of other factors play a role in classifying