PhD on LGATs
Posted by: egoldstein ()
Date: May 02, 2018 11:23PM

The following link can be used to access a recently published psychology PhD thesis, which uses LGATs to explain the link between bipolar triggers and symptoms. It explains how LGATs generate their "transformations", how these processes can be linked with common psychological casualties in LGATs (e.g. extreme mood swings and psychosis), and how other troubling behaviour is triggered by mood manipulation in these trainings. It also addresses, point by point, how LGATs incorporate thought reform, as well as other recognised processes of persuasion from social psychology. The thesis synthesises commentary on LGATs by academics, authors, journalists, bloggers, and online contributers from forums such as the Cult Education Institute to paint a compelling picture of the LGAT experience, the way that stress is generated (and released) and what impact this has on the brain.


Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 06, 2018 05:30AM


Thank you for making this available.
It's going to take me awhile to read it all, (especially on my small cellphone), but it it great, so far. I am about 1/4 of the way through, and at this point, everything looks dead-on. I hope this information can be used to help fight these organizations.

Thank you again,

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: egoldstein ()
Date: May 06, 2018 10:43PM

Because thought reform is used as a framework through which to comment on stress-generation in LGATs, it is not specified in the table of contents. You can find the section on thought reform in LGATs on pages 200-288.

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 07, 2018 02:33AM


Thanks! It is tempting to skip ahead, but then i would be missing relevant parts like this:

"2.4.6 Emotional allostasis
It is well established that physical and cognitive changes occur in response to stressors (real,
anticipated, and imaginary), but literature on the emotional response to stressors is less
comprehensive. If, however, evolution has ensured that, when faced with a physical threat, you
become stronger and more alert – that your senses sharpen and your cognitive faculties are enhanced
– then it is plausible, if not likely, that evolution would also have ensured that you are able to cope
emotionally with a stressor. If it is not your physical wellbeing, but your sense of self-worth that is
threatened, then it would be useful if your brain produced something (or, as per allostatic theory,
some things) which countered that threat to self-esteem. If a situation made you feel intimidated, it
would be useful if your brain produced something which made you feel bold; if a situation made you
feel inferior, it woud be useful if your brain produced something to make you feel superior; if a
situation made you feel guilty, it would be useful if your brain produced something which made you
feel unashamed; if you were made to feel self-conscious, it would be useful if your brain produced
something which made you feel self-assured; and if a situation that required immediate action made
you feel unsure, then it would be useful if your brain produced something that made you decisive."

I think i can see where this is going. It would explain a lot. I could see how Landmark changed my former friend. Here it is saying that it is a physical response from the brain. When i saw it, my perception was just that Landmark had adversely affected her character.

A couple of the changes i saw in her were that she would lie, when she had previously been honest, and she suddenly couldn't comprehend the word, "No."

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 07, 2018 07:57PM

I love this explanation, (pages 382, 383):

"Kahneman (2012) distinguishes between two basic systems that operate in our minds. System 1 (or
“fast thinking”) “operates quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control” (p. 20). It
is asserted that this system is intuitive, makes use of heuristics (cognitive “rules of thumb”) and that,
through experience, this system allows us to become experts in certain areas and respond quickly,
automatically, and correctly, in many situations. System 1 is described as operating “effortlessly” (p.
21), while System 2 (or “slow thinking”) requires exertion. Because the mind is lazy (or “efficient”),
Kahneman argues that it will only employ System 2 when System 1 fails (or when a person believes
that System 1 will fail):
“The defining feature of System 2, in this story, is that its operations are effortful, and one of the
main characteristics is laziness, a reluctance to invest more effort than is strictly necessary” (p. 31)."

"To avoid cognitive exhaustion and minimise errors a person should utilise System 1 in situations when
it is likely to be accurate and System 2 when System 1 is vulnerable to failure. If then, individuals are
convinced to abandon System 2 when forming a belief that requires careful thought, these people
would be vulnerable to certain errors. Once that defence is no longer in place, processes which are
known to cause errors with System 1 can be used and this could lead these individuals to form opinions
and take on beliefs that might otherwise be rejected. Regardless of whether the opinions/beliefs taken
on are valid, a process that deliberately emphasises intuition, devalues considered thought, and then
(knowingly or unknowingly) takes advantage of the loopholes in System 1 might be considered
unethical. According to Kahneman (2012) an environment that is draining, and which requires
constant vigilance is one way to get a person to abandon System 2. Clearly this applies to LGATs"

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: May 08, 2018 05:48AM


I just finished reading. I feel that it was well worth reading in its entirety. The section that shows the stressors inherent in thought reform is on point, in my opinion, and i did observe most of those things in my LGATs experience. The sections before and after that provided information that was new to me, and helped additiinal pieces fall into place.

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: egoldstein ()
Date: May 09, 2018 04:06AM

I'm glad it was useful. It is a lot to get through, but it seems that it's accessible to people without any specific training in psychology. Hopefully those who have had positive LGAT experiences, or who advocate for these organisations, will read it and consider the information presented as well.

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: not moses ()
Date: May 10, 2018 07:10AM

TYVM for your work. Understanding the mechanisms that induce the stress that leads to neural network rewiring is very useful for those developing medicinal and psychotherapeutic treatment strategies. Any comments you may have on the following will be appreciated.

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: egoldstein ()
Date: May 11, 2018 06:31PM

I think that, in understanding the biology of the "transformation" and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours associated with this state, participants may feel more in control of what happened, particularly if this state resulted in impulsive behaviour that caused personal or professional problems. There's no reason to believe that, for most, there will be permanent biological harm. The harm may be a feeling of being taken advantage of, which may be difficult to accept and process. I think that, when you consider the sophistication of the processes and the average intelligence of participants (who have been fooled by these processes), it is easier to accept that this has taken place. It then, I believe, becomes easier to move forward.

Re: PhD on LGATs
Posted by: egoldstein ()
Date: May 11, 2018 06:52PM

If my theory is correct then many of the ideas taken on by LGAT members are taken on as a result of classical conditioning, or associative learning.

Essentially ideas are presented during the training and they become associated with the feelings of power, euphoria etc which are triggered at the end of the training. My view is that if these ideas were presented in a neutral environment they would likely be rejected as they do not hold value on there own (they are distortions of ideas which may hold some value). Like Pavlov presented food at the same time as he rang a bell, LGATs present a euphoric experience at the same time as they present their ideas (and obligations). Like dogs associate the bell (which has no real value) with food, so LGAT participants form an association between the LGAT principles (and obligations) and the feeling triggered at the end of the training. These sorts of system 1 associations are far more likely to occur when people are exhausted... which they are at the end of the training.

It seems that breaking the emotional associations and getting graduates to look analytically at the ideas may be a useful intervention, but I have little clinical experience.

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