Snapping: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change Conway, F. and J. Siegelman

Sam, I read that you conducted research into the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty, and in essence explored the neural footprint of religious beliefs in the mind, and as I read this book I thought this is a book you might be interested in. It deals with the destructive effect of cults on the believer’s mind, and how ordinary people switch, flip, snap from their original normal identity and mindset, to a cult-induced identity, mindset, world view, belief system.  This “snap” or flip, is thought by scientists interviewed by the authors to be so complete and massive, that actual neurological changes take place within the brain, such that some ex-cult members have a very difficult time restoring their original mindset.  The authors write about the mind-numbing effects of charismatic Christian prayer meetings, meditation, speaking in tongues, mantras; these activities apparently turn off the critical-thinking areas of the brain like a light switch. If we understand the ways, the methods, employed by cult leaders to fabricate the cult mind, then we may understand how best to engage religious and cult members back to a path of Reason.  Pages 187 to 191:  adrenalin, endorphins, enkephalins, serotonin, and brain chemical calpain are discussed.

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