Charismatic Traits of Cult Leaders and Their Influence Research Paper by Nikolai1977

Charismatic Traits of Cult Leaders and Their Influence
An examination of past cult leaders, focusing primarily on the charismatic attributes they share and how they influenced their followers.
# 119539 | 1,260 words | 8 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on May 07, 2010 in Psychology (Social) , Religion and Theology (General) , Sociology (General)

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This research examines the common traits of cult leaders and other leaders whose influence can be defined as cult-like. How do these people use their attributes to influence their followers? After examining existing reseach documents, the researcher hypothesizes that most cult leaders have in common the traits of intelligence, confidence, and the ability to speak and present themselves so that their views appear correct to people who are in a state of flux in their lives. The researcher also hypothesizes that the people who follow these leaders are those who are not only in the midst of life changes, but are also seeking an alternative world view to help them cope.

From the Paper:

"Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles of the Heaven's Gate cult are more modern examples of just how powerful traits of intelligence and confidence can be. Applewhite, being an educated man and at one point a college professor, and Nettles, a nurse, both had shown through their past as being intelligent. Once they had formed Heaven's Gate, however, the confidence in their beliefs and their sheer reasoning skills, however skewed a non-believer would see it now, managed to draw in a sizable group of followers, many of whom followed the beliefs so completely that they eventually committed a mass suicide in 1997. Both Applewhite and Nettles were charismatic figures, possessing not only intelligence and confidence, but an intensity that captured the loyalty of so many."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Eatwell, Roger (2006).The concept and theory of charismatic leadership. Totalarian Movements and Politcal Religions. 7(2), 141-156.
  • Ernestine, H.G., & Diederik, A.S. (2008). When controversial leaders with charisma are effective: The influence of terror on the need for vision and impact of mixed attitudinal messages. European Journal of Social Psychology. 38(3), 389-411.
  • Howe, J. (2000).Revisiting the holy man. Catholic Historical review. 86(4), 640-645.
  • Johnson, D., & VanVonderen, J. (1991). The subtle power of spiritual abuse. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House.
  • Kallis, A.A. (2006).Fascism, "charisma," and "charismatisation": Weber's model of

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APA Format

Charismatic Traits of Cult Leaders and Their Influence (2010, May 07) Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

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