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What Are the Underlying Reasons of Human Psychology Blindly Attached to Its Leader?
12/01/2022

What Are the Underlying Reasons of Human Psychology Blindly Attached to Its Leader?

 

In their book titled "When the Prophecy Comes Wrong", published in 1956, social psychologists analyzed the psychological state of people who blindly believe in leaders. All over the world, people who have been blindly attached to the names seen as leaders for years have a blind faith even in the obvious lies of the leader. So, what are the reasons behind this situation? Social psychologist Leon Festinger and two colleagues sought an answer to this question in their published book.

But why do people who are blindly attached to a leader easily believe even his obvious lies?
Social psychologist Leon Festinger and two colleagues answered this question with a theory in their 1956 book "When the Prophecy Comes Wrong": The Cognitive Dissonance Theory.

A woman named Dorothy Martin, living in the USA, prophesied that at the dawn of December 21, 1954, aliens would bring the end of the world, and that those who believed in her would escape this flood, thanks to a UFO that would come from the planet Clarion on the night of December 20 and take them to space.

His cult, called the "Sekers", soon became known. His followers immediately tried to warn people by placing advertisements in the newspapers and on the radio. Those who believed in the prophecy quit their jobs and sold all their assets. He even left his spouses who did not share his beliefs. The followers completely believed everything the leader said, no matter how absurd.

That day, close to 50 people gathered and it was midnight. However, neither the apocalypse broke nor the sound of aliens came out. So what happened when the prophecy didn't come true? Nothing.

When nothing happened, small grunts began. Meanwhile, Dorothy Martin closed herself in the kitchen, but when she came back into the living room a little later, she was smiling.

"I've spoken to the Clarionians again," he said to the disgruntled group, "they have given Earth and us another chance, and now we must go out and work harder, convince and save more people of the inevitability of extinction, recruit them to our side." she said. This explanation was very comfortable for those waiting in the hall because now they had something new to believe in.

The disciples, who abandoned their jobs, wives, and properties, clung to their beliefs even more tightly, let alone rebelling. After all, their sect had saved the world.

Their current mission was to warn humanity and prevent the same disaster from happening again. The fact that the prophecy could not be proven to be true did not harm the beliefs of those who believed in it. On the contrary, he further consolidated their beliefs and prompted the group to seek new members.

What Dorothy Martin and her followers didn't know was the presence of the three PhD students who had infiltrated them that night. Three research social psychologists, Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, had learned of the existence of the group from a newspaper article and decided to investigate this issue. These three people pretended to be disciples and infiltrated the sect.

The researchers, who wrote their observations in their book "When the Prophecy Fails", tried to explain this situation with the Cognitive Dissonance Theory.

According to this theory; People act in a mental balance. A mismatch between one's understandings leads to mental stress and restlessness.

According to the researchers, the person will try to relieve this discomfort, similarly, he will avoid situations or information that will increase this stress.

The magnitude of the stress caused by conflicting insights will also vary according to the importance and rate of these insights. Studies show that cognitive dissonance arises especially when a person's self-belief (such as self-esteem, thinking he is intelligent) and his actions are inconsistent, and that people generally resolve this conflict by preserving their belief in themselves. In the Seekers cult, the disciples' anticipation of the UFO and the flood was based on faith, not evidence.

It was also a sign of faith that they did not consider the failure of the prophecy to be a conflict with their own beliefs.

So the faith of the followers was not based on the evidence but on their dedication to Dorothy; and they resolved their cognitive conflicts by reinforcing their belief in her, not because they thought they had made a mistake in committing to her. Particularly when it comes to blindly held beliefs, judgments, or charismatic leaders, the commitment is so overwhelming that when the facts conflict with it, it's easier to distort reality, no matter how absurd, in order to reduce psychological tension and conflict.

The totalitarian-populist politics, which spread like an epidemic in the world and is much more dangerous than Covid, and the conspiracy theories that feed it, are a good example of this situation.

The more bitter the facts and the sharper the contradiction, the more the devotion of the masses who fall in love with the totalitarian populist leaders increases.

In April 1945, when the Red Army was taking control of the suburbs of Berlin, Hitler was awarding child soldiers fighting the Soviet army with medals for their achievements and bravery, and ordering his generals to attack. There were audiences who still believed in him. to the leader. The last living example that we all witness to people who are blindly attached is the congress raid in the USA after Trump lost the election, showing how effective this phenomenon can be even in places where democracy and freedoms are institutionalized. From now on, scientists and conscious people have a duty; “At least, it is about giving importance to the rationalization of young people and internalizing universal values, and organizing some insight-raising, awareness-raising activities and trainings on this issue. If any of your relatives or friends are so blindly attached to a leader or manager who is involved in disgraceful crimes such as lying, fraud, corruption, theft, and bribery that they will sacrifice all their loved ones, sacrifice their children, and spend all their savings on their cause, get them professional help. Even if they do not accept professional help, their relatives can attend the sessions to learn and apply other methods. You can contact us at +90544724 3650 phone number.


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