Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Monday, September 28, 2015

Scientology's Influence Part 1 Contrast, Concession, Reciprocity

 Image result for influence robert cialdiniImage result for influence robert cialdini
 Image result for influence robert cialdiniImage result for influence psychology reciprocity
Image result for contrast effect psychology examples

I am basing a series of posts on information from the book Influence The Psychology of persuasion, by Robert Cialdini.

This book is considered an authoritative reference on persuasion and essential in social psychology by many academics.  I am going to try to break it down into small bits and compare aspects of my twenty five years in Scientology with the ideas presented by Robert Cialdini.

I will highlight quotes from his book for reference. In this first installment I want to address three concepts Cialdini describes, contrast, concession and reciprocity.

There is a principle in human perception, the contrast principle, that affects the way we see the difference between two things that are presented one after another ( page 12 )

This idea is often demonstrated to students by having them put one hand in cold water, and the other in hot water, then both in medium temperature water in one bucket.
The water simultaneously feels hot to one hand and cold to another. The hand that was in cold water before now feels warm and the one that was in hot water earlier feels cool.

Many experiments have supported this. If men see very attractive women just before seeing unattractive women they see the unattractive women as more unattractive than if they had not just seen the attractive woman.

Many sales people know to sell the most expensive of a group of items if possible first. For example sell a five hundred dollar suit before selling a seventy five dollar sweater, as the customer will more easily accept the lesser cost in contrast to the higher price he already paid.

Another example is a tactic some real estate sales people employ, have a few smaller, more run down houses to show. First show one of these and ask for a much higher price than one should. Next take the prospective customer to a nicer, bigger house with a lower price. Then watch their eyes light up and know they feel like the second house is a great deal. In contrast it looks far better than it is.

This perceptual distortion is routine and commonplace. It is natural to think something is better or worse, but the contrast distorts our judgement to look at things relative to each other, rather than objectively.

It is a fundamental weakness in perception that is especially vulnerable to persuasion because we usually have no awareness it even exists.

Next is the principle of reciprocity. We tend to feel obligated to people who do something for us. To quote the archaeologist Richard Leakey:

We are human because our ancestors learned to share their food and their skills in an honored network of obligation. ( page 18 )

There was a famous experiment by Professor Dennis Regan of Cornell University in which a student was paired with an assistant posing as another student. The students were rating paintings together. The assistant, Joe would try to sell the student raffle tickets after they finished their work.

With some students Joe would take a break, go out and come back with a Coke and another he would give the student.  The students who received the Coke bought far more raffle tickets than the students who received nothing.

Additionally the students were asked to rate how much they liked Joe. Surprisingly if Joe bought them a Coke , whether the student liked Joe or not, they still bought raffle tickets based on if he gave them a Coke or not - NOT if they liked him or didn't ! The sense of obligation is more important than if they liked him for predicting behavior.

Other experiments have supported this . For manipulators there is an additional trick. They can induce the feeling of obligation by giving an uninvited favor. The act doesn't need to be wanted.

French anthropologist Marcel Mauss said :
There is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive, and an obligation to repay. ( page 31 )

The obligation to repay is important, but the obligation to receive makes manipulation easy. If you refuse a gift or favor you seem antisocial. Or stuck up.

In the experiment Joe got to decide the favor of giving a Coke, then the request for buying a raffle ticket as the opportunity for the student to return the favor.

As a more obvious example Hare Krishna cult members take advantage of this at airports. They walk up and hand strangers a flower. If the stranger tries to return the flower the cultist declines. Then the cultist asks for a dollar or two , many people give in and donate a few dollars. The Krishnas go around the airport and gather  the flowers from the garbage, then recycle them for other travelers. They have made millions of dollars this way. They used to seek donations and largely be rejected due to their unusual dress and customs . but their dress and customs were required , so rather than abandon that they used the social obligation to accept the small gift of a flower ( a kind of concession to manners )  , then the immediate request for money to invoke reciprocity , but it was entirely unequal since a few dollars for a flower you don't have any want or need for is not truly equal . But you don't think of it at the time .

Additionally a person often feels an overwhelming obligation to return favors and this can be exploited by controlling what favors are given and what are acceptable to accept.  If you ask a person to volunteer for a billion years as a Sea Org member and leave their family behind often that makes joining staff seem not too bad in comparison and so a person concedes and joins staff. Or a person gets some help on course and asked to donate a hundred thousand dollars to an org and then feels merely giving a few thousand and volunteering to help out is not that bad .

When one understands that people feel obligated to accept favors and to repay them and can give very inexpensive favors but present them as invaluable miracles and then only accept either immense amounts of labor or money in return in a capitalistic money driven society you come out way ahead , in the short term.

That was one of Hubbard's biggest secrets: he knew Dianetics and Scientology were recycled failed hypnotic techniques that produced temporary euphoria but long term dependence on the therapist and tremendous vulnerability to exploitation . But could be presented to the uninformed as miracles , and through increased suggestibility sold as such . The happy victims felt obligated and rewarded Hubbard far out of proportion to any benefit gained, if being fooled by lies for a short time is any benefit at all.

These three principles are borne out by many experiments and you are welcome to Google the ideas for further evidence which is abundant .

Hubbard and his cult use all three to influence people covertly to progressively surrender to his cult. They contrast the "win" of auditing which is in truth a temporary euphoric high from hypnosis against not having wins to make auditing seem life changing and miraculous . They contrast the claimed salvation of Scientology against the denigrated state of being a normal human to make Scientology seem wonderful.

You give a concession every time you do a check-sheet item on a course requiring "a major stable win " , in that you concede that whatever happened - you had a win . And you concede gains every time you write and a success story and answer the key question " would you like others to have gains similar to the ones you experienced ?" you are acknowledging gains did occur , even if they did not !

And as you get more convinced Hubbard bravely sacrificed everything to save humanity , you feel obligated to reciprocate - and see giving all your money , or a fortune if wealthy or joining staff or ultimately signing your billion year contract for the Sea Org as the only adequate return on his investment in you !

All three ideas are ruthlessly and relentlessly exploited in Scientology.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.