Ask A Cult Expert

We thank Dr Mann for answering this question. This question is from me, Debra Van Neste, who is the author of this blog. I felt this would clear some confusion and asked if I could share this from an educational conversation with Dr. Mann on research studies.

Debra Van Neste: Steven Hassan is asking for people to participate in this study, and I quote him below:

Title: A study to attempt to identify key psychological issues that people may have, who were once involved with controlling groups or people.

As we know, research is so critical for our understanding of people and their experiences. We really appreciate it if you take some time out and answer this survey. It is not required that you be a former member of a destructive group or controlling relationship at all, anyone can answer this. While it takes some time to fill this out, you can feel good that you are contributing to science.”
Source: https://freedomfromundueinfluence.org/a-study-to-attempt-to-identify-key-psychological-issues-that-people-may-have-who-were-once-involved-with-controlling-groups-or-people/

My question is what can Steven Hassan do with this info and how does it apply towards valid research? Anyone can write anything in these type of forms.

Dr. Mann: The research methodology he is using really disturbs me.  You will skew your results if you use ”never ins,” which this genius is doing. It’s also unethical for him to market this study without showing he has IRB approval (institutional review board for the use of human subjects. ) These oversight policies date back to Nuremberg. He’s also implying that current or former cult members have some sort of psychological disorder, which is a marketing strategy, not science. Even if he has kept this information in his methodology private, why? Research studies should be an open process.

ABOUT DR.MANN: Cathleen Mann, PhD, has consulted in about a hundred cases involving cults, undue influence, psychological influence, and related areas. Qualified by a court of law as an expert in 16 states,  Dr. Mann has extensive experience with the qualification process required to be allowed to testify as an expert. She has a PhD in psychology and has held a counseling license in Colorado since 1994.  Her website is CultExpert.Net