M: Manipulation. These are techniques used by cults to ensure compliance by using undue influence. The definition of undue influence has been recognized in common law for 500 years and is a legal definition, not a psychological one. Manipulation can consist of a variety of factors including those put forth by Cialdini (1984 ). Manipulation also involves several other elements such as: impression management; lying about facts and history; assuring conformity to a teaching without question (Lifton, 1961); betraying of confidences; denying reality; and changes to diet, sleeping patterns, and overactivity (Schein, 1961). Hypnosis or other artificial techniques are not necessary when ordinary techniques such as those mentioned above are more than adequate. The confirmation of manipulation occurs when ordinary cult members are successful in activity to convert others (Kent, 2001).
Our seminars break down manipulation, in stages, to help anyone understand the dynamics of cults.