12 AMERICAN BLUES THEATER On November 18, 1978, in the middle of the jungle in Guyana, South America, nearly 1,000 people drank lethal cyanide punch or were shot to death, following the orders of their leader, Jim Jones. Mothers and fathers gave the deadly drink to their children and then drank it themselves. People screamed. Bodies trembled. And within a few minutes 918 people were dead. Decades later, social psychologists continue to examine how Jones came to command such enormous influence over his followers' thoughts and actions. Jonestown, they say, offers important lessons for psychology, such as the power of situational and social influences and the consequences of a leader using such influences to destructively manipulate others' behavior. Most disturbingly, perhaps, leaders such as Jones appear to have derived some of their techniques from social psychologists' research, raising questions about research ethics, says Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, APA's past-president and a psychology professor at Stanford University. In as- yet unpublished research, Zimbardo has found that Jones quite possibly learned his ability to persuade from a famous social thinker: George Orwell. Through 25 years of research and interviews with Jonestown survivors, Zimbardo has found parallels between the mind control techniques used by Jones at Jonestown—namely sophisticated types of compliance, conformity and obedience training—and those described in Orwell's fictional book 1984. Orwell possessed a deep understanding of influence processes from social psychology, and his depictions of mind control have been used systematically and effectively by cult leaders, Zimbardo says. Others agree with Zimbardo that such findings raise ethical questions for social psychologists, given that the likes of Jones draw from social psychology tenets and use them for harm, says Robert Cialdini, PhD, who researches influence and is the Regents' Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. "Sources of influence can be like dynamite—they can be used for good or used for ill," Cialdini says. "Social scientists need to pay more attention to not just the effectiveness of the strategies we study and uncover but also the ethical ramifications of the use of these principles and practices." The Mastermind Indeed, Jonestown should serve as a warning to the social psychology community in what can happen when principles of influence are abused by leaders of an organization, Zimbardo says. Jones, who acted as the pastor of the Peoples Temple, studied Orwell's system of mind control described in 1984, and commissioned a song that his followers were required to sing at Jonestown about the advent of the year 1984, Zimbardo has found. Some of the mind control techniques Orwell described in 1984 that parallel methods Jones used include:  "Big brother is watching you." Jones used this idea to gain the loyalty of his followers. He required followers to spy on one another and blasted messages from loudspeakers so that his voice was always present while they worked, slept and ate, Zimbardo says.  Self-incrimination. Jones instructed followers to give him written statements about their fears and mistakes and then, if they disobeyed him, he used that information to humiliate them or subject them to their worst fears during public meetings. WHEN LEADERS ABUSE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The below article by Melissa Dittmann—originally published by the American Psychological Association in November 2003— examines some of the social psychology tools abused by controversial leaders, such as Jim Jones of Peoples Temple. It has been edited here for length. Jim Jones at a rally in 1977