ICSA Annual Conference: Social Contagion in Groups and Society

Joseph Kelly, Patrick Ryan

Friday, June, 2022, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM Part 1, 12:00 PM -12:50 PM Part 2

This panel will explore social contagion in cultic groups, social groups and in society. 

The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines Social and Behavioral Contagion as the spread of behaviors, attitudes, and affect through crowds and other types of social aggregates from one member to another. Early analyses of social contagion suggested that it resulted from the heightened suggestibility of members and likened the process to the spread of contagious diseases.

Are group experiences influenced by social contagion?  As former members of the Transcendental Meditation Movement, we will illustrate the role of social contagion in the process of learning the TM-Sidhi levitation technique – now called yogic flying.

We will also explore:

We will also explore:

  • The role of the media and social contagion (satanism, alien abduction). 
  • Holy Laughter and Slaying in the Spirit in charismatic churches, described as a form of prostration in which an individual falls to the floor while experiencing religious ecstasy.
  • How social groups can affect one’s sense of self or identity. 
Joseph Kelly: Cult Mediation Specialist

Joseph Kelly
Interventionist, Cult Meditation
Joseph F. Kelly is a graduate of Temple University, has been a thought reform consultant since 1988. He spent 14 years in two different eastern meditation groups. He has lectured extensively on cult-related topics, and is a co-author of Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants, published in ICSA’s Cultic Studies Journal. For many years, Mr. Kelly has also co-facilitated ICSA pre-conference workshops for ex-members. Recently, he helped to initiate ICSA’s monthly meeting in Philadelphia. joekelly411@gmail.com. Websites: intervention101.comcultmediation.comcultrecovery101.com.

Patrick L. Ryan is a Interventionist/Mediator/Religious Conflict Resolution, Cult Mediation Specialist

Patrick Ryan
Interventionist/Mediator/Religious Conflict Resolution, Cult Mediation
Cult Mediation Specialist Mr. Ryan is the founder and former head of TM-EX, the organization of ex-members of Transcendental Meditation. He established ICSA’s online resource (1995-2013), was the editor of AFF News, a news publication for former cult members (1995-1998), has contributed to the Cult Observer, AFF’s book, Recovery From Cults, is co-author of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants,” and has presented 50 programs about hypnosis, inner-experience, trance-induction techniques, communicating with cult members, conversion, cult intervention, exit counseling, intervention assessment, mediation, religious conflict resolution, thought reform consultation, eastern groups, transcendental meditation and workshops for educators, families, former members and mental health professionals at ICSA workshops/conferences. Mr. Ryan received the AFF Achievement Award (1997) from AFF, the Leo J. Ryan “Distinguished Service Award” (1999) from the Leo J. Ryan Foundation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) from ICSA. Websites: intervention101.comcultmediation.comcultrecovery101.com.