Social Psychology And Cults Essay

2624 words - 10 pages

A cult is defined as a social group or a social movement under one charismatic leader. It maintains a belief system, which includes a transformation of a group member. Members of the group have a high level of commitment to the leader, members, and beliefs (Lalich). An additional definition to consider is from the American Journal of Psychotherapy:
…groups that often exploit members psychologically and/or financially, typically by making members comply with leadership’s demands through certain types of psychological manipulation, popularly called mind control, and through the inculcation of deep-seated anxious dependency on the group and its leaders (Salande, and Perkins 382).
To consider a social group as a cult, it must meet certain criteria. According to Robert Jay Lifton a professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, there are three criterions a group must possess to be considered a cult. First, the leader of the cult is worshipped and is more important than the beliefs. Thought reform must take place usually by confessions from group members and criticism of members by the leader. The third criterion is that there must be heavy exploitation of group members by the leader or other members in authoritative positions. Exploitation most commonly is of a sexual or economic nature (“I Escaped A Cult: Episode 1”). According to the American Journal of Psychotherapy, another criterion is; cults often operate under a premise that the world is bad and the cult is good (Salande, and Perkins 382). If these criteria are met, then a group may be considered a cult.
Cults are different from other groups. According to the American Journal of Psychotherapy, two factors distinguish how cults are different from other social groups. First, the methods that cults use include coercion, threats, physical and verbal abuse, manipulation, isolation, separation from family and friends, and forfeiting personal finances. The second factor is the outcome. People in cults often come out of the group in a worse position than when they first joined the cult. They could be worse off financially, psychologically, or relationally to give a few examples. More times than not, people in groups that are not considered cults do not produce the effects listed above. Instead, members of these groups report that they improve as a person in some way (Salande, and Perkins 382, 383). Cults can be differentiated from other groups because of the methods that cults use, and the effect that cults can have on its members.
Cults can be classified as destructive, considering the methods used and how membership affects individuals. According to the International Cultic Studies Association or ICSA, cults can be considered destructive to its members. Reports form former cult member’s reveals that they have trouble trusting others, problems forming and maintaining relationships, and feel disconnected with the world. In addition, former cult members report being diagnosed with depression and Post...

Find Another Essay On Social Psychology and Cults

Contribution of Psychology and Social Psychology to the Study of Health and Welfare Issues

2064 words - 8 pages Contribution of Psychology and Social Psychology to the Study of Health and Welfare Issues In this assignment I will be comparing and contrasting two psychological approaches demonstrating their relevance to understanding a health issue. The issue that I will be applying the two psychological approaches to is Smoking. The psycho dynamic approach denotes the active forces within the personality

The Self in Social Psychology and Implications for Counseling Practice

3275 words - 14 pages Various concepts of the self are present in many social psychological topics. Research studies related to self-identity, self-concept, self-esteem and other core social constructs regarding self are abundant, and there is plenty of evidence suggesting the self can be described and compared to a plethora of social motives that are researched and reviewed throughout social psychology. However, for counseling psychologists, how do we make sense

Biological Social and Cognitive outlooks on Depression - Psychology - Essay

1061 words - 5 pages 1 Tenio Ayeni Psychology Professor Senecal December 5, 2017 Final Paper Depression is a mental disorder that more than 350 million people suffer from worldwide. It does not take sides, white or black, straight or gay, tall or short, it can affect any type of person. A continuous research on this disorder has shown phycologist how depression affects one’s biological makeup, cognitive, and social factors removing them from society and placing

Birth of social Psychology It discusses the process of the birth of the social Psychology and its links to other areas and some authors' theories

1986 words - 8 pages Untitled 1. BIRTH OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY It rises in the second half of the XIX Century, in some European countries, and a little later in the United States and other countries. For some, Social Psychology appeared in 1859, along with the revised edition of "Great Soviet Encyclopedia" by Steintahl and Lazarus. This magazine puts Social Psychology as a branch of psychology bourgeois. For others, the social psychology

Critically compare and contrast the community psychology and public health approaches to social problems

876 words - 4 pages My aim in this paper is to analyse community psychology and public health and distinguish between the two approaches. Community Psychology focuses on economic, environmental, political and social factors that influence the way in which people all over the world live their lives. It also touches on social factors that contribute or causes problems in various societies. Public Health on the other hand, according to Tutorial Letter 102/0/2014, is

Discussing Attitudes from two opposing angles in social psychology: Cognitive and Discursive

2757 words - 11 pages Within social psychology the topic of "attitude", and all that surrounds this label, is regarded my many as the focal point and therefore among the most explored. Whether studies investigate attitudes as inner cognitive states and processes or as evaluations of a constructing nature within speech and writing, the importance remains equal within social psychology. These two types of perspectives, cognitive or discursive, will be explored, in

biopscyhosocial effect of exercise and social interaction on depression - Psychology 601 at York - essay

3653 words - 15 pages 17 EXERCISE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION SELF-STUDY The Effects of Consistent Exercise and Social Interaction on Depression: A Self Study Jason Holtz Yorkville University In Partial Requirements of the Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology Abstract As a student who has struggled with depression due to stress related events, and currently is completing a Master’s of Arts degree while working full-time with three young children, the potential for

Social Psychology, what is it and what can it help us learn about ourselves and others actions

3226 words - 13 pages Social Psychology is a very broad subject but the definition that I believe describes it best is the scientific study of the way in which people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by real or imagined presence by other people. There are many contributing factors and situations that support the theory of Social Psychology. I believe by understanding these contributing factors better we can learn to better lead our own lives rather

"Social Psychology." Over the years certain patterns of interactions between men and women (Latin-American culture)have evolved

918 words - 4 pages "Social Psychology." Over the years certain patterns of interactions between men and women (Latin-American culture)have evolved.The interaction between men and women in the Latin-American culture is based on women's beliefs about men and how are they supposed to behave in relationships with them. The concepts of social psychology can be useful to comprehend why women believe and behave in certain ways. The Male chauvinist of this culture make

Most classic studies in social and developmental psychology were conducted at least 30 years ago. Why are there so few modern classics?

1600 words - 6 pages Most classic studies in social and developmental psychology were conducted at least 30 years ago. Why are there so few modern classics? In this essay, I will be explaining why are there so few modern classics. So what is classic? A classic is when the study has achieved a great impact on its field and in this case Psychology, examples such as the Asch conformity experiments, the Milgram experiment, the Stanford prison experiment, Bobo doll, and

Of what use is knowledge of the social psychology of group behavior to the theory and practice of contemporary HRM? Illustrate with examples

2858 words - 11 pages The behaviour of groups have important consequences for management and are important because of the potential impact of group behaviour on organisational performance, this is the primary concern of HRM theory and practice. This essay examines how organisations are utilizing and harnessing groups and looks at culture, leadership, norms, cohesiveness, size, change ....and the problems of conformity, social loafing and conflict. This essay looks at

Similar Essays

Social Psychology An Analysis Of Cults

1280 words - 5 pages , which is hard to do for some people. They also have to give up probably their only social contact; friends or leave a relative behind. There are many difficulties in a cult and many negative sides to it. But certain people still join cults, seeking to meet their expectations of life.

Social And Evolutionary Psychology Essay

1150 words - 5 pages Social and Evolutionary Psychology In an attempt to define civilized man’s relationship to the jungle and primitive societies, one must first consider the theories of social psychologists who have offered interpretations of modern man’s reactions upon insertion into a primitive setting. The main contrast in human states that arises from this argument is the concept of civilization versus savagery. Much is uncovered about the

Cults. This Essay Tell About Cults In North America, It Tell Us How They Are Formed And What They Do. It Also Tell Us About Social Interaction

2054 words - 8 pages CultsEach year, hundreds of North Americans join one of theincreasing, estimated 3000 unorthodox religions that existacross North America. The increasing number of cults, to datein North America, is due to the fact that cults are a socialmovement that attempts to help people cope with their perceivedproblems with social interaction. Cult recruiters target thosewho perceive themselves as different from the rest of society,and give these

Social Psychology Schindler's List And Pro Social Behaviour

2485 words - 10 pages Cited African National Congress. (1990, 02 11). Nelson Mandela`s Address to a Rally in Cape Town on his Release from Prison. Retrieved from African National Congress: http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=4520 Baron, R. A., Branscombe, N. R., & Byrne, D. (2009). Social Psychology. Boston: Pearson, Allyn and Bacon. Batson, D. C., Duncan, B. D., Ackerman, P., Buckley, T., & Birch, K. (1981). Is Empathic Emotion a Source of Altruistic Motivation