Christian Long

Diane Benscoter: How Cults Rewire the Brain

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Extra credit reflection by RYAN S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Diane Benscoter:  How Cults Rewire the Brain

I was disappointed. It seems harsh, but what I was expecting from this video, was something a little more scientific.

Diane has a story. It’s very potent, and she wields it well. However, her approach to explaining “How cults think.” is less than scientific. If the point of her talk was to invoke an emotional reaction, then I believe she accomplished her goal. However, as I said before, I don’t think she really gave an incite into how Cults actually think.

Partly this has to do with the length of the video. If this had been a fifteen minute talk, then I’m sure she could have given this entire talk but actually have gone into the psychology of cults as well. Her experiences with cults, and the fact that she was once in one, gives her an insight that few can truly enjoy (I use the term “enjoy” lightly). If she could only combine this with a few text book based insights into the cult mentality then this video would be given my highest recommendation. Mob/cult mentality has always been a fascination of mine, and I only wish that this video had been more comprehensive. Still for what it is, it isn’t bad. She still talked about the psychology, and she helped answer a few of my questions on cult mentality. The bit about how you convince yourself of your self-righteousness, using circular reasoning, was particularly interesting.

Overall I recommend this video, and I think that it is very interesting. I don’t usually convey my thoughts and ideas through a number (as in rating a video some number out of ten). I don’t usually do this because I find it hard to take all the variables in a video and crush them down into some mathematical sum. However in this case I think that if I had to I would rate this video a six out of ten. It wasn’t bad and it was worth watching but if you were looking for something mind blowing, or exceptionally in-depth, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed


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