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Sects IReport "Killer Sects" (episode 1)Question 1: What are the characteristics of the recruiters? What are the characteristics of the targets?Recruiters seem to know everything. They are friendly and give value to people. Targets are vulnerable, looking for love and support.Question 2: What might explain the unrestricted buy-in of followers? People feel safe.Question 3: What is the point of limiting the amount of sleep that followers get? What is done to maximize the influence of the cult in the lives of the followers? Limiting sleep increases suggestibility. There is a disconnect between the cult and the outside world. The individuals feel more and more part of the group (no individuality).II Mechanisms used by sectsA sect is a group usually characterized by :A ritual and a devotion to a human beingAn isolation from the surrounding culture presented as "diabolical"A living charismatic leader Its objective is to have power and to have a hold on living followers in order to exploit them. She wantsto gain "unconditional allegiance".She uses psychological destabilization maneuvers to achieve this. There are 2 stages in the recruitment of a member: seduction and control.a) SeductionThis consists of persuading in order to enlist. Sympathy and credibility (e.g.: invention of diplomas, recognition by important people, etc.) are used for this. The message takes into account the audience's characteristics, knowledge, beliefs and previous attitudes. The recruiters highlight people's needs and shortcomings and propose solutions. The message is delivered face to face. This is the most effective channel because it creates an atmosphere. The recruiters address fragile people, looking for answers, but it is not only gullible and uneducated people.b) The hold:engage and isolate The process of engagement is used. Kiesler (1961) defines it as what binds us to our behaviors. We are more committed the more we feel we are doing acts freely, the more costly those acts are, and the more public and repeated those acts are. There is an escalation of commitment (e.g.: progressive increase of electric shocks in the Milgram experiment).Role internalization is also used. Zimbardo (1971) defines it as giving people the impression that they have an important role. Zimbardo did an experiment where he brought students into a place set up like a prison. The students played the role of jailers or prisoners. The jailers began to insult or beat the prisoners.The experiment was supposed to last 2 weeks. It had to be stopped after 6 days because it was getting out of hand. Social influence via the group is also used. Social proof refers to the fact that in an ambiguous situation, individuals watch how other people act and react, and reproduce these behaviors. The group thus influences individuals through emotional and informational dependence, and through social identity.Thus, in our daily life, free will does not necessarily exist as long as there are social

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PJC PSYC 2301 - Killer Sects

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