News wave about Scientology

You may be seeing a new wave of stories about Scientology in the news. Religion Link, which serves as a religion resource to reporters, recently issued an update about Scientology. It coincides with a series by Tampa Bay / St. Petersburg Times about controversial aspects of Scientology. This might form the basis of an interesting assignment, particularly in conjunction with a recent post on the TED Blog in which Zimbardo is asked such questions as what psychology's biggest mistake has been, and whether there is such a thing as a good cult.

And, speaking of TED, another post there that you or your students might find interesting is Diane Benscoter's talk at TED and her later Q & A session. Although Benscoter asserts that brain scans of people engaged in circular thinking, such as she experienced while with the Moonies, would differ from those of people engaged in critical thinking, I'm not aware of any studies that have demonstrated this. (Perhaps you could point me to such studies?)

These are very controversial topics, and may need special care in class discussion. But your students are likely to find them very stimulating, and you can use them to illustrate important concepts in the psychology of religion.

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