Leah Zitter

Leah Zitter

A Phenomenological Analysis of Changing Prejudice Among Defectors of Closed Faith Societies (Dissertation: Psychology Research)

Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Collection | January 13th, 2019 | [https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6720&context=dissertations]

Abstract

Prejudice research shows that most psychologists focus on moderate prejudice in superficial settings, rather than extreme prejudice in real-life situations. The present study used an interpretive phenomenological analysis guided by social constructivism on 21 biographies to investigate how the authors voluntarily disaffiliated from their groups and altered their prejudice. The narratives were retrieved from popular and academic book and journal memoirs, digital and print interviews and articles, podcasts and video clips of members of closed faith societies who were socialized to resent outsiders, with their resentments turning into violence. The analysis used Willig’s 4 stages: immersion in material, identifying core themes, summary of themes, and the amalgamation of the summary into themes. Relevant recent neuroscientific studies on reasoning, bias, attitude and evaluation were included. Results of this study indicate that there seems to be a turning point in which participants perceive the outside world in a different way. This change in perception may occur in members of closed groups through conducting critical analyses, reading source texts, and experiencing altruism from a member of the resented outside groups. Recommendations include that communication between outsiders and group members should reflect subtle, fact-based reasoning and manifest a customized approach to reducing prejudice. The study offers an original approach for understanding socialized violence. Governments and relevant entities could use this research to train invited outsiders of a cult or closed faith society regarding how to decrease the prejudice of closed group members.

[https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6720&context=dissertations]