ON CLOVER ROAD BACKSTAGE GUIDE 13  Suicide drills. Orwell's main character said that "the proper thing was to kill yourself before they get you" in a threat of war. Jones had his followers do practice suicide drills right up to the actual mass suicide event.  Distorting people's perceptions. Jones blurred the relationship between words and reality, for example, by requiring his followers to give him daily thanks for good food and work—yet the people were starving and working six and a half days a week, Zimbardo says. Similarly, Orwell described such a technique, which he called "newspeak." By mastering such mind control techniques, Jones was able to gain followers' obedience and loyalty, Zimbardo says. "Jim Jones is probably the most charismatic cult leader in modern times in terms of his personal appeal, oratory, his sexual appeal, his just sheer dynamism, and his total participation in the control of every member of his group," he explains. Mindless Compliance These mind control techniques—coupled with the creation of a new social environment—provided Jones with a powerful influence over his followers, Zimbardo says. Quite arguably, Jones, through his natural understanding of social psychology, knew the way to obtain a strong influence over his followers was to move them from their urban American environment to a remote South American jungle, generating uncertainty in their new surroundings, Cialdini says. And when people are uncertain, they look to others for cues on what to do, research has shown. Zimbardo notes that people are particularly vulnerable when they are in new surroundings, feel lonely or disconnected. "When you believe 'It can't happen to me,' that's when con artists or cult agents have you at their mercy because then you're not as vigilant to the little situational ploys that can get you to step across the line," Zimbardo explains. Social psychology has shown the "power of the crowd" for decades. For example, in the 1960s, psychologists Stanley Milgram, PhD, Leonard Bickman, PhD, and Lawrence Berkowitz, EdD, demonstrated social influence by having a group of people on a busy New York City sidewalk gaze up at nothing in the sky. When one man looked up at nothing, only 4 percent of passersby joined him. When five people stood on the sidewalk looking up at nothing, 18 percent of passersby joined them. And when a group of 15 gazed upward, 40 percent of passersby then joined, nearly stopping traffic in one minute. As other cult leaders have done, Jim Jones used this "power of the crowd" influence in controlling others' behavior, intellect, thoughts and emotions. This includes instituting rigid rules and regulations, withholding or distorting information, using hypnotic trances, and generating guilt and fear among followers. Building Awareness However, since Jonestown, many social psychologists remain unaware of the psychological impact of the mind control techniques, often elucidated in social psychology research, that cults use to recruit and retain members, Zimbardo says. Many psychologists remain skeptical that behavior is intentionally controlled by these organizations at all, rather believing that people join cults of their own free will, as they do with traditional religious groups. Those who study cults, on the other hand, maintain that psychologists need to study how cults abuse social psychology research. Psychologists are also needed to develop effective treatments for cult victims to help them break free from a cult's influence before it's too late, so that, in cases like Jonestown, history does not repeat itself. Houses in Jonestown, Guyana in 1979