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How Cults Rewire the Brain

Diane Benscoter devoted five years of her life to being a Moonie, a follower of Sun Myung Moon. After years in the church (which she now refers to as a cult), Benscoter left and became a "deprogrammer" (...until she was arrested for kidnapping in connection with a deprogramming attempt). In this TED Talk from early 2009, Benscoter describes her history, a bit about deprogramming, and how being a Moonie changed her brain -- the specific logical process that led her to lock into the cult's mindset, bypassing critical thinking. This is a quick talk (just over six minutes), but it raises some interesting points about why cults work; you can read a long Q&A with Benscoter to get more depth on her experience.

Discussed: how cults work psychologically, why people in cults think they need to save the world, viral memetic infection (hello Snow Crash).

Representative quote: "These easy [answers] to complex questions are very appealing when you're emotionally vulnerable.... Circular logic takes over."

WARNING: there are a few graphic images depicted in this talk (related to Jonestown and terrorism).

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7 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory
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Being cursed with a bad memory can yield snafus big and small, from forgetting your gym locker combination to routinely blowing deadlines. If your New Year's resolution was to be less forgetful in 2018, it's time to start training your brain. The infographic below, created by financial website Quid Corner and spotted by Lifehacker Australia, lists seven easy ways to boost memory retention.

Different techniques can be applied to different scenarios, whether you're preparing for a speech or simply trying to recall someone's phone number. For example, if you're trying to learn a language, try writing down words and phrases, as this activates your brain into paying more attention. "Chunking," or separating long digit strings into shorter units, is a helpful hack for memorizing number sequences. And those with a poetic bent can translate information into rhymes, as this helps our brains break down and retain sound structures.

Learn more tips by checking out the infographic below.

[h/t Lifehacker.com.au]

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