Monday, September 15, 2008

Cult and Postcult Identities

Most cult experts agree that cult mind control creates a new cult identity in addition to the real identity. However, it is important to notice that Dissociative Disorder (DSM 300.15) created by cults is different from Multiple Personality Disorder (DSM 300.14) caused by psychological trauma. People who have MPD have different personalities that do not know about existence of one another and a person does not remember what they did being in another personality. Members of cults know about their different personalities and remember what they did in another personality.

There are different concepts of what a person should do after leaving a cult. Some cult experts stress that a former member of a cult should leave the cult pseudo-identity and come back to the real identity. Some say that the cult identity should be split into sub identities and integrated into the real identity. Robert Jay Lifton in Thought Reform and the Psychology of Tolalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China wrote that after brainwashing people "experimented" with their identities and sub identities. They gained some sub identities that they did not have.

I think the model of postcult identity is:
1. The real pre-cult identity as the basis
2. Some sub identities of the cult identity integrated into the real identity
3. Some new sub identities developed after the cult and integrated into the real identity

A person can develop new sub identities before the cult sub identities are completely integrated into the real identity which becomes the leading part of the post-cult identity.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spiritual Growth Does Not Change Personality Types and Temperament

In the Bible, there are some examples of people who reached spiritual maturity. There is no evidence that their personality types or temperaments were changed.

Apostle Peter in the Gospels often was very quick and was the first to reply Jesus when He talked to His disciples (Matthew 14:28; 15:15; 16:16; 16:22; 17:4; 18:21; 19:27; 26:33). Sometimes Peter said something without even thinking whether he should say something or be silent (Mark 9:5-6). This means that he probably had choleric temperament. The Bible does not indicate that his temperament was changed. However, it does indicate that he became loving others and humble. In the Gospels, Peter liked to take the lead, he thought that he was better then other apostles and did not want to forgive others. However, at the end of his life, he called apostle Paul "our beloved brother" and appreciated his wisdom (2 Peter 3:15) after Paul publicly rebuked him for hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-21). At the time when Paul rebuked him, Peter was the leading apostle, but Paul was not. However, Peter did not keep offense. He was humble and forgiving and he loved Paul.

Apostle Paul probably was ENTJ. He got a good education, was very clever and logical, was resolute, liked to contact people, was open to new experience and liked to take a lead. There is no indication that his personality type was changed. His epistles were full of logical discourses. He separated Christianity from Judaism which was a new idea for that time. He was the leading apostle in the Gentile world. However, he became loving and merciful to people. Before his second missionary journey, he refused to take Mark who left him and Barnabas in the first journey. Eventually, Paul and Barnabas parted form one another because of that (Acts 15:36-41). However, in the end of his life, he appreciated Mark (2 Timothy 4:11). Paul loved other Christians and took care for them as a father. There is this thought in many of his epistles.

Apostle John and his brother apostle James were called "Sons of Thunder" by Jesus (Mark 3:17). When Samaritans did not receive Jesus and His disciples, John and James proposed to send the fire from the heavens on Samaritans (Luke 9:51-56). James was killed by Herod (Acts 12:1-2). John lived a long life. His Gospel and epistles that he wrote in the end of his life are full of love. Cruel John became loving John.

Thus, the Bible shows that spiritual maturity is not the change of personality types and temperaments. Spiritual maturity in the Bible is love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and other Christian virtues.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Correlation between Personality Types and Temperament

Personality types are based on people's preferences for:
1. Extroversion or introversion
2. Intuition or sensing
3. Thinking or feeling
4. Judging or perceiving

Temperaments are based on factors of people's central nervous system:
1. Strength (strong or weak)
2. Balance (balanced or unbalanced)
3. Mobility (mobile or inert)

Sanguine temperament is characterized by strong, balanced, and mobile central nervous system.
Phlegmatic temperament is characterized by strong, balanced, and inert central nervous system.
Choleric temperament is characterized by strong, unbalanced, and mobile central nervous system.
Melancholic temperament is characterized by weak, unbalanced, and inert central nervous system.

Other combinations give mixed temperaments. However, one of them is domineering.

According to Eysenck, two factors of his tests EPI and EPQ indicate a person's temperament. These factors are extroversion / introversion and emotional stability / instability.

Sanguine temperament is extroverted and emotionally stable.
Phlegmatic temperament is introverted and emotionally stable.
Choleric temperament is extroverted and emotionally unstable.
Melancholic temperament is introverted and emotionally unstable.

Since temperaments and personality types include extroversion / introversion, there should be some correlation between them in this factor. Actually, the scales for extroversion / introversion in EPI/EPQ and MBTI are different and the descriptions of extroversion and introversion are somewhat different. This means that they do not match exactly.

The other scale for temperaments is emotional stability / instability. This scale indicates a person's emotionality. MBTI has a scale of thinking / feeling. It looks like a thinking person might be more emotionally stable, and a feeling person might be more emotionally unstable. However, it might not be so because in MBTI both thinking and feeling are rational processes.

There were some studies of correlation between MBTI and EPQ. The same people took both tests. Mainly, these studies showed that there was some correlation between the scales of extroversion / introversion in both tests. There was no correlation of EPQ scale of emotional stability / instability with any MBTI scale. There was also some correlation between MBTI scale of judging / perceiving and the third scale of EPQ - psychoticism. The low scores on this scale indicate a person's agreeableness, the high scores indicate that a person has a tendency to asocial behavior. However, this scale is not used in temperaments.

This means that personality types and temperaments have some correlation on extroversion / introversion.

In addition, both personality types and temperaments are inborn and unchangeable and both supposedly depend on brain activity. This means that they do have something in common, though they are different.

This means that a combination of a personality type and temperament gives more complete model of a person's inborn and unchangeable psychological characteristics. Since in MBTI all the scales are independent and the same is in EPQ, and there is a correlation between two scales of MBTI and EPQ, it looks like there are five inborn and unchangeable personality factors:
1. Extroversion / introversion
2. Intuition / sensing
3. Thinking / feeling
4. Judging / perceiving
5. Emotional stability / instability

This model is different from the five-factor model used in Big5. It looks like nobody proved that all the five factors of Big5 are inborn and unchangeable. Big5 was an attempt to simplify Cattell's 16PF test that has 16 scales, but many of them correlate with one another. The five factors of Big5 were an attempt to select the independent factors among 16 factors of 16PF. However, the scores on some of the scales of 16PF can change.

Actually, there are disagreements among psychologists whether there are five main factors of personality as in Big5 or three main factors as in EPQ. However, Big5 includes all the factors of EPQ. Neither Big5 nor EPQ include scales for intuition / sensing and thinking / feeling which indicate some of people's inborn preferences. Big5 and EPQ do not have any scales that correlate with these two scales of MBTI.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jesus Christ's Temperament

In The Discipling Dilemma, Flavil Yeakley wrote that Gospels show Christ's personality types in different ways. I think the same is true with His temperament.

Probably, many portions of the Gospels show Him as sanguine, a cheerful extrovert. He is shown there as a person who likes to contact people. However, "pure" sanguine people are often not so serious. Christ was serious and very patient to people. These are characteristics of phlegmatic. However, when He drove merchandisers from the temple, He probably behaved more like choleric. When He learn about Lazarus' death, He wept. This is more typical for melancholic. So, it looks like He behaved in different situations as a person having all the four temperaments at different times.

It is impossible for an human being to have more than one personality type. However, it is possible to have more than one temperament. Some people have all the four temperaments. However, still every person has one domineering temperament. Probably, Jesus did not have just one domineering temperament in the same way as He did not have just one personality type.

In the same way as the Bible does not teach to change the personality type, it does not teach to change the temperament. Eventually, every personality type and every temperament have their own advantages and disadvantages. No one of them is better or worse.

God is not limited by just one personality type or temperament since He created people having all these personality types and temperaments. He wants people to have their different personality types and temperaments since He created them in this way.

Personality Types and Temperament

Yeakley's study of personality types in ICC and some other groups showed that members of mind controlling cults have changes while members of benign Christian churches do not. I do not know if anyone made the same study of temperaments. However, some researches showed that there is some correlation between two scales of MBTI and EPQ. EPQ indicates a person's temperament while MBTI indicates a person's personality type. Since members of benign Christian churches do not have changes of personality types, they probably do not have changes of temperament either. So, cult mind control causes changes of temperament while normal Christian experience does not. Therefore, the matter of changing of temperament shows the difference between mind control and proper spiritual experience.

Pavlov said that temperament depends on a person's brain activity. Jung had the same idea regarding personality types. Secular psychologists believe that a human being has only a physical part and that the psychological realm completely depends on brain. Christians as well as other religions believe that human beings also have a spiritual part, a soul. Of course, it is impossible to use electroencephalograph or any other equipment in order to measure the activity of the soul. However, there is no contradiction between psychology and religion. The brain is the organ that joins the soul with the body. So, the soul activity influences the brain activity. The brain activity that can be measured by the means of instruments just reflects the soul activity. Personality types and temperament actually depend on the soul, however, they also influence the brain.

Recently, one neurophysiologist who spent many years on study of the brain said that by now scientists know a lot about the brain and how it works. However, they do not know the main thing. They do not know the nature of human thoughts. They are unable to explain how human brain produces thoughts and what is a thought.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cult and Postcult Temperament

It is commonly accepted that people's real personality types (measured by MBTI, Keirsey's test and some other tests) are inborn, stable, and cannot be changed. However, mind control creates cult pseudo-identity with a new personality type.

There are also 4 temperaments (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic) that are inborn and unchangeable. Their expressions may be changed, but the temperaments themselves are unchangeable. Many people have mixed temperaments, but they still have one domineering temperament.

Russian scientist Ivan P. Pavlov (who is famous for his experiments with dogs and bells) said that temperaments depends on brain activity.

British scientist Hans J. Eysenck considered that people have three main factors of personality and two of them are related to their temperament. These two factors are extroversion / introversion and emotional stability / instability. He made tests to measure these factors - EPI and EPQ. EPQ includes one more factor. So, EPI and EPQ can be used to find out a person's domineering temperament.

After I left the cult, I found out that my temperament changed. Before the cult involvement, I took personality temperament tests many times, so I knew what was my temperament. However, when I took these tests at the end of my involvement and after I left, the results were completely different.

In order to find out what happened, I took EPI and EPQ three times: how I would do that before the cult, how I would do in the cult, and how I would do that now. The domineering temperament for the time before the cult and for the present time was the same and it matched the results of the tests that I took before the cult. The domineering temperament for the time in the cult was different and it matched the results of the tests that I took in the end of cult involvement and some time later.

It means that cult mind control changes not only personality types, but also temperaments. A cult pseudo-identity has not only a new personality type, but also a new temperament. The new personality type is the type of the cult leader. Probably, the same is true for the new temperament.