Cult Behavior

In: Social Issues

Submitted By elizlora
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Why Individuals Conform to Cult Behavior
Jesse A. G. Oakes
Social Psychology ~ Fisher College

Why Individuals Conform to Cult Behavior

When answering the question why and how do individuals conform to cult behavior, one will perhaps better understand this scenario along with how it takes place by remembering and referring to the fundamentals of persuasion. Accomplished through not only the Central Route of persuasion, containing the critical content, but also the Peripheral Route lending to the acceptance and trust of the individual viewed as the leader, messenger, through superficial cues. In association with these fundamentals, it is important to realize the individual being drawn into a cult, more than likely has existing personal circumstances, which places them in a fragile state, which allows them to be more easily preyed upon. When speaking of the word “cult”, as individuals we each have a personal opinion of the word and what it means. However most if not all make a judgment and apply it to a group generally in regards to belief and/or practices in the realm of religion. Another reference, specifically, Merriam-Webster.com the word “cult” is defined as formal religious worship, a system of religious beliefs and ritual, great devotion to a person, idea, object, or movement. Research conducted by Margaret Singer, Ph.D. and reported in Psychology Today (January, 1979), encompassed individuals who were involved with cults, and later left either on their own accord or with assistance from outside influences. The research showed that the individual enticed into the cult world typically comes from middle or upper class families, are an average age of 23 years, has completed two or more years of college, and has experienced periods of depression, confusion, and meaningless of life. (Singer, 1979). The individual

experiencing such feelings is…...

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