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Lecture 3

PSY BEH 104S Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Faith Healing, Safe Sex, Statistical Hypothesis Testing

Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
Paul Piff

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Lecture 3
- Why study social influence?
- 1. We are curious
- 2. Some social psychologists contribute to the solution of social problems
- Durkheim Project
- Looked at social media; a lot for service members who come back from
duty don’t do very well, high suicide rates. Social media could be used to
help, tool targets certain phrases and such that imply suicide or something
to get the help they need.
- Social Psychology and Social Problems
- Social psychological theories about human behavior have been applied to
a range of issues and problems
- Prejudice
- Energy shortage
- AIDS and safe sex
- Unhealthy habits like diet and substance abuse
- Violence in schools
- Helping behaviors; what helps in certain situations?
- A Social Psychological Event
- Jim Jones
- Charismatic leader - extremely interested in leaders of history, why they are good
and bad…
- “People’s Temple” - he was very interested in the church, liked to preach.
- Very much an up and coming leader in Indianapolis
- Pillar of the community
- People’s Temple
- Jones becomes a “minister”
- Witnesses a “faith healing”
- Jones starts “The People’s Temple”
- Jones appointed director of Human Rights Commission
- He would call people on stage to be healed. He would “pull out”
cancer, although it was never really cancer of course.
- Very welcoming to people, asked people to attend their “church”
and people tended to gravitate toward his church ceremonies.
- Moved to San Fran in 1970’s
- Becomes a reverend and is lauded by California politicians
- He performs “miracles”

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- Starts asking for a lot of money little by little from people.
Overtime, people were giving more and more money, sometimes
even their houses
- Investigations begin into the People’s Temple
- Jones fears losing tax exempt status
- Decides to move People’s Temple to create socialist paradise
- Road to Jonestown
- 1977 - Moves Temple to small South American Country
- Create “utopia” of harmony where people would work
together to benefit each other, etc. In theory it is a
wonderful idea.
- Quickly realized people with machine guns were always watching
over the people
- Jones was heavily using drugs which was messing him up, that is if
he hadn’t had a mental disturbance beforehand anyways
- Abusing children, doing horrific things to his people that he would
justify to make sure everyone was committed
- Followers of Jones - not allowed to leave
- Increasingly restrictive commitments
- People back in the US/family members are voicing concerns for
the people who went with Jones, and so they asked a Congressman
to employ a search into the town.
- Leo Ryan
- Congressman that travels to Jonestown
- When leaving, the party is ambushed and Ryan is killed
- This event signaled the end
- White Night
- Jones told all people that the US will never leave them alone, and
the only way to show that they would all be truly free is if they all
drank the cyanide Kool-Aid. Jones shot himself in the head.
- Only a few people escaped.
- Up until 2001, it was the biggest mass killing in the US
- People thought all these people with Jones were mentally ill. Why else would they follow
this crazy guy?
- It does not start big - it always starts with one little request, getting bigger and
bigger and you are psychologically engaged.
- You start to rationalize that you already did so much, so why not do more?
- Jonestown, 1978
- Over 900 followers died
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