Social Psychology - Jonestown

Topics: Jim Jones, Jonestown Pages: 4 (1257 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Analuisa Rubalcaba

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY JONESTOWN MASSACRE The bring up of the Jonestown massacre event sprouting almost thirty years ago, still makes us feel sad but mostly vulnerable. Vulnerable enough to watch almost a thousand people kill themselves voluntarily. Thinking about situational forces, we can relate to those forces assaulting us on our every day life; advertising, media, peer pressure, but never can we imagine they can obtain such power to influence our decisions and actions in those brutal ways. Jim Jones the leader of this movement knew exactly how to manage these situational forces into his own interests. It is known, as shown on the documental, that Jim as a boy had certain tendencies and behaviors that made him distinct from the other kids. Which leads us to believe, not only did he kill so many people but actually encouraged this type of behavior and took great satisfaction with it. How can such a messed up person become such a leader? We have seen in several studies, like those in Milgram’s studies, how ‘normal’ people behave in ways unimaginable. A good application of several situational forces added with pressure, repetition and stress during time can create this. Jim used many assertive psychological terms, among those we’ll discuss only three of them which I considered most affective.

-Role play Jim Jones himself became a very powerful persuader through role playing. Role playing is following a set of norms that defines how you as an individual in a given social position ought to behave. Jones quickly achieved to brilliantly apply all elements of persuasion into his own character. The elements of persuasion are known to be four: the communicator, message content,


Analuisa Rubalcaba

message said and audience. Such elements are needed for a leader to become this strong. Jones role playing made him edible to asses this elements. Let’s start with the communicator, Jones being the communicator, had to make himself likable. A...
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