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One of the biggest vulnerabilities individuals have regardingcult influence tactics is the Self-serving bias TheSelf-serving bias is a cognitive bias that leads individualstoattribute success to their personalities and plead out ofresponsibility for failure by attributing them to externalfactors of which they have no control Sagarin Everyone is avictim of the self-serving bias Examples of this are when aperson believes that they are healthier than their neighborsare better-looking than the average individual and are moreintelligent than the people around them In cases liked thesethe self-serving is innocuous and perfectly harmless Howeverin the context of cult influence this bias leaves individualswith a dangerous illusion of invulnerability Sagarin Thisis why people often think they will never be susceptible to cultinfluence- because they are stronger than those who havesuccumbed However Dr Brad Sagarin states the vast majorityof cult recruits are normal productive people--people confidentin their ability to shrug off cult influence tactics So if Ihad to name the single most important defense against cultinfluence it is the realization that we are all vulnerableUnsurprisingly the methods cults use to recruit membersdirectly focus on those vulnerabilities of individuals One ofthese methods is the Hot-Seat technique The Hot-Seat techniqueis when a person sits in a chair withpeople surrounding him orher The leader asks the individual to confess their sins andwhile the person is doing so the people surrounding himhervoice alternating statements of disapproval for committing thesin in the first place and praise for coming clean about thesin This is an exercise most often used to reduce self-esteemRhoads Kelton Rhoads PhD states Its an excellent exampleof a social influence principle that states the following Aperson with low self-esteem will be more persuadable than aperson with high self-esteem when the advocated message isweak However theres no exact correlation between persuasionand low self-esteem Its only when the message advocated bycults is weak that this process works which is precisely whythose groups often utilize it Rhoads Other tactics usedare- increasing suggestibility cults submit the individual tohypnotic
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