SEEKING God’s Presence

The Dopaminergic-Defense Hypothesis

Authors

  • John Hunter University of KwaZulu-Natal

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jcsr.22411

Keywords:

psychological stress, dopamine, SEEKING system, mania, religious experience, reward

Abstract

There is evidence that dopaminergic excitation contributes to certain religious experiences however, a natural mechanism by which hyperdopaminergia may be elicited in normative Christian contexts remains elusive. Panksepp’s dopamine-mediated “SEEKING system” offers a plausible endogenous defense against psychological stress, and is activated by rewarding stimuli, so it was hypothesized that significant psychological stress followed by social reward would prompt SEEKING arousal in most healthy individuals. Through a review of 121 data sources describing a prevalent “personal development” seminar – using deductive thematic analysis – it was found that participants endure significant psychological stress for days before it is replaced with love/acceptance/affirmation and that most participants experience a powerful affective state, with effects consistent with SEEKING arousal. Because contemplating one’s sinfulness may elicit acute psychological stress, and Christian salvation may provide a sense of love/acceptance/affirmation, a natural mechanism for stimulating SEEKING arousal, and inducing a religious experience, in a Christian context is conceived.

References

Agid, Y., Javoy-Agid, M., & Ruberg, M. (1987). Biochemistry of neurotransmitters in Parkinson’s disease. In C. D. Marsden & S. Fahn (Eds.). Movement disorders 2 (pp. 166–230). London: Butterworth & Co.

Alford, H. (2010, November 26). Landmark Forums: Getting in touch with feelings. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/fashion/28Landmark.html

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https//doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

Appelbaum, P. S., Robbins, P. C., & Roth, L. H. (1999). Dimensional approach to delusions: Comparison across types and diagnoses. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(12), 1938–1943. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.156.12.1938 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.156.12.1938

Aron, A., Fisher, H., Mashek, D. J., Strong, G., Li, H., & Brown, L. L. (2005). Reward, motivation, and emotion systems associated with early-stage intense romantic love. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94(1), 327–337. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00838.2004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00838.2004

Ashok, A. H., Marques, T. R., Jauhar, S., Nour, M. M., Goodwin, G. M., Young, A. H., & Howes, O. D. (2017). The dopamine hypothesis of bipolar affective disorder: The state of the art and implications for treatment. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(5), 666–679. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2017.16 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2017.16

Badt, K. (2011, November 17). Inside The Landmark Forum. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/inside-the-landmark-forum_b_90028

Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2000). The neural basis of romantic love. NeuroReport, 11(17), 3829–3834. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200011270-00046 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200011270-00046

________. (2004). The neural correlates of maternal and romantic love. NeuroImage, 21(3), 1155–1166. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEUROIMAGE.2003.11.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.11.003

Baruch. (2003, September 9). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,2168,2216#msg-2216

Bastian, B., Jetten, J., & Fasoli, F. (2011). Cleansing the soul by hurting the flesh: The guilt-reducing effect of pain. Psychological Science, 22(3), 334–335. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610397058 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610397058

Beauregard, M., & Paquette, V. (2006). Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Neuroscience Letters, 405(3), 186–190. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEULET.2006.06.060 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2006.06.060

Bennett, J. (2011, February). Landmark forum – cult, scam, or path to enlightenment? — thirty two thousand days. Thirty two thousand days. http://thirtytwothousanddays.com/blog/2011/02/landmark-forum-cult-scam-or-path-to-enlightenment/

Bentall, R. P. (2003). Madness explained: Psychosis and human nature. London: Penguin Books.

Berk, M., Dodd, S., Kauer-Sant’Anna, M., Malhi, G. S., Bourin, M., Kapczinski, F., & Norman, T. (2007). Dopamine dysregulation syndrome: Implications for a dopamine hypothesis of bipolar disorder. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 116(434), 41–49. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01058.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01058.x

Black, R. (1997, December 31). Landmark education: Experience, investigation, research & analysis. Cult Education Institute. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12539-landmark-education-experience-investigation-research-amp-analysis.html

Bloomfield, M. A., McCutcheon, R. A., Kempton, M., Freeman, T. P., & Howes, O. (2019). The effects of psychosocial stress on dopaminergic function and the acute stress response. ELife, 8, e46797. https://doi.org/10.7554/ELIFE.46797 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.46797

Bostock, E. C. S., Kirkby, K. C., Garry, M. I., & Taylor, B. V. M. (2015). Comparison of precipitating factors for mania and partial seizures: Indicative of shared pathophysiology? Journal of Affective Disorders, 183, 57–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.04.057 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.04.057

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Boyer, P. (2001). Religion explained : The evolutionary origins of religious thought. New York: Basic Books.

Braid, M. (2003, November 5). Turn up, tune in, transform? The Independent Digital. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12517-turn-up-tune-in-transform.html

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa DOI: https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

________. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 589–597. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1704846 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628806

Brewer, M. (1975, August). We’re gonna tear you down and put you back together. Psychology Today. https://culteducation.com/group/908-est/6150-were-gonna-tear-you-down-and-put-you-back-together.html

Brewerton, T. D. (1994). Hyperreligiosity in psychotic disorders. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 182(5), 302–304. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005053-199405000-00009 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/00005053-199405000-00009

Brown, D. E. (1991). Human universals. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Butler, P. M., McNamara, P., Ghofrani, J., & Durso, R. (2011). Disease-associated differences in religious cognition in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 33(8), 917–928. https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2011.575768 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2011.575768

Cabib, S., & Puglisi-Allegra, S. (2012). The mesoaccumbens dopamine in coping with stress. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(1), 79–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.04.012 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.04.012

Carlos B. (2009, July 3). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,72002,page=3

Citizen Skeptic. (2014). To the landmark forum. A (or one) skeptic. https://a1skeptic.org/a-skeptic-goes/a-skeptic-goes-to-the-landmark-forum/

Clancy, R. (1992, July 21). Victims lured into baring their souls by mind games. London Times. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12462-victims-lured-into-baring-their-souls-by-mind-games.html

Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2014). Thematic analysis. In A. C. Michalos (Ed.). Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 6626–6628). New York: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3470

Cohen, D. (2021). Naturalism, religion, and mental disorders. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 7(1), 21–38. https://doi.org/10.1558/JCSR.19935

Comings, D. E., Gonzales, N., Saucier, G., Johnson, J. P., & MacMurray, J. P. (2000). The DRD4 gene and the spiritual transcendence scale of the character temperament index. Psychiatric Genetics, 10(4), 185–189. https://doi.org/10.1097/00041444-200010040-00006 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/00041444-200010040-00006

Concerned Oz. (2004, August 25). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,5885,page=2

Cousins, D. A., Butts, K., & Young, A. H. (2009). The role of dopamine in bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders, 11(8), 787–806. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-5618.2009.00760.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-5618.2009.00760.x

Crabtree, B., & Miller, W. (1999). Using codes and code manuals: A template organizing style of interpretation. In B. Crabtree & W. Miller (Eds.). Doing qualitative research (2nd ed., pp. 163–178). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Ltd.

D’Onofrio, B. M., Eaves, L. J., Murrelle, L., Maes, H. H., & Spilka, B. (1999). Understanding biological and social influences on religious affiliation, attitudes, and behaviors: A behavior genetic perspective. Journal of Personality, 67(6), 953–984. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6494.00079 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6494.00079

Dafellah. (2004, April 19). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,4883

DeCuir-Gunby, J. T., Marshall, P. L., & McCulloch, A. W. (2010). Developing and using a codebook for the analysis of interview data: An example from a professional development research project. Field Methods, 23(2), 136–155. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X10388468 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X10388468

Deeley, P. Q. (2004). The religious brain: Turning ideas into convictions. Anthropology and Medicine, 11(3), 245–267. https://doi.org/10.1080/1364847042000296554 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1364847042000296554

Di Matteo, E. (2000, April 20–26). In the grip of the therapy tough-guys. Now Magazine. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12470-in-the-grip-of-the-therapy-tough-guys.html

Douglas, A. J. (2010). Baby love? Oxytocin-dopamine interactions in mother-infant bonding. Endocrinology, 151(5), 1978–1980. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2010-0259 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2010-0259

drcraigvideos. (2013). What role does the holy spirit play in apologetics? YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VWEFY4JuGk

________. (2014). Dr. Craig’s personal journey to faith. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRk7Q7S6Gyw

elena. (2005, June 19). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,10366,10719#msg-10719

Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005). The neurobiology of love. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 26(3), 175–192. https://doi.org/10.2174/157340005774575037 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0091-3022(05)00055-5

Evans, J. (2010, December 7). Attack therapy and the Landmark Forum. Philosophy for life. http://www.philosophyforlife.org/attack-therapy-and-the-landmark-forum/

Faltermayer, C. (2001, June 24). The best of est? Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,138763,00.html

Fazeli, S. (2013, April). My (scary, destructive) brush with scientology light. Landmark cult. https://landmarkeducationacult.wordpress.com/landmark-forum-cult/

Ferguson, M. A., Nielsen, J. A., King, J. B., Dai, L., Giangrasso, D. M., Holman, R., Korenberg, J. R., & Anderson, J. S. (2018). Reward, salience, and attentional networks are activated by religious experience in devout Mormons. Social Neuroscience, 13(1), 104–116. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2016.1257437 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2016.1257437

Ferris, C. F., Kulkarni, P., Sullivan, J. M., Harder, J. A., Messenger, T. L., & Febo, M. (2005). Pup suckling is more rewarding than cocaine: Evidence from functional magnetic resonance imaging and three-dimensional computational analysis. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(1), 149–156. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3156-04.2005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3156-04.2005

Finkelstein, P., Wenegrat, B., & Yalom, I. (1982). Large group awareness training. Annual Review of Psychology, 33(1), 515–539. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ps.33.020182.002503 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ps.33.020182.002503

Fiona. (2010, November 6). A personal memoir of the Landmark Forum “brainwashing.” Anti-landmark. http://anti-landmark.blogspot.com/2008/08/personal-memoir-of-landmark-forum.html

Fischer, R., Xygalatas, D., Mitkidis, P., Reddish, P., Tok, P., Konvalinka, I., & Bulbulia, J. (2014). The fire-walker’s high: Affect and physiological responses in an extreme collective ritual. PLOS ONE, 9(2), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0088355 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088355

Fisher, H., Aron, A., & Brown, L. L. (2005). Romantic love: An fMRI study of a neural mechanism for mate choice. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 493(1), 58–62. https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.20772 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/cne.20772

Fisher, J. D., Silver, R. C., Chinsky, J. M., Goff, B., Klar, Y., & Zagieboylo, C. (1989). Psychological effects of participation in a large group awareness training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57(6), 747–755. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.57.6.747 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.57.6.747

Fisher, M. (1987, October 25). I cried enough to fill a glass. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/1987/10/25/i-cried-enough-to-fill-a-glass/c75b0dda-e8ea-46f9-8aea-8e4afdd0cfbe/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.31eef1869b19

foodguypdx. (2005, June 17). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,10640,10678#msg-10678

glam. (2004, September 20). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,6364,6739#msg-6739

Glass, L. L., Kirsch, M. A., & Parris, F. N. (1977). Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training: I. A report of cases. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134(3), 245–247. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.134.3.245 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.134.3.245

GloriaG. (2010, September 23). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,92058,92093#msg-92093

Goodwin, F. K., & Jamison, K. R. (2007). Manic-depressive illness: Bipolar disorders and recurrent depression (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grigoriadis, V. (2001, July 9). Pay money, be happy. New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/culture/features/4932/index1.html

Haaken, J., & Adams, R. (1983). Pathology as “personal growth”: A participant-observation study of lifespring training. Psychiatry, 46(3), 270–280. https://doi.org/10.1080/00332747.1983.11024199 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00332747.1983.11024199

Hanley, J. (2018). About – John Hanley Phd. Johnhanleyphd.Com. https://johnhanleyphd.com/about-john-hanley/

hatotheno. (2007, October 4). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,47883,47883#msg-47883

Herzog, H., Lele, V. R., Kuwert, T., Langen, K. J., Kops, E. R., & Feinendegen, L. E. (1990). Changed pattern of regional glucose metabolism during yoga meditative relaxation. Neuropsychobiology, 23(4), 182–187. https://doi.org/10.1159/000119450 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1159/000119450

Hill, A. (2003, December 14). Investigation: is the Landmark Forum a cult? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/dec/14/ameliahill.theobserver

Hintzen, A., & Passie, T. (2010). The pharmacology of LSD: A critical review. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoge, E. A., Pollack, M. H., Kaufman, R. E., Zak, P. J., & Simon, N. M. (2008). Oxytocin levels in social anxiety disorder. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 14(3), 165–170. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1755-5949.2008.00051.X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00051.x

Hope. (2003, September 9). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,2168,2217#msg-2217

________. (2004, April 23). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,4882

hossgal. (2004, June 22). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,4952,5650#msg-5650

Howard, R. (2001, July 23). Mindbreakers. Daily Mail. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12500-mindbreakers.html

Howes, O. D., & Kapur, S. (2009). The dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia: Version III – The final common pathway. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 35(3), 549–562. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbp006 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbp006

Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2020). Research methods in psychology. (6th ed.). Harlow: Pearson.

Hukill, T. (1998, July 9). The est of friends. Metro News. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12352-the-est-of-friends.html

Hunter, J. (2018). Stress-induced hypomania in healthy participants: The allostatic manic-defence hypothesis. Doctoral dissertation, University of KwaZulu-Natal. https://researchspace.ukzn.ac.za/handle/10413/15188

________. (2019). LGATs and fight club: Dissecting a delusion. The Fincher Analyst. https://thefincheranalyst.com/articles/lgats-and-fight-club-dissecting-a-delusion/

JackSF. (2003, November 28). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,2773

jman76. (2009, August 10). A personal memoir of the Landmark Forum “brainwashing.” Anti-landmark. http://anti-landmark.blogspot.com/2008/08/personal-memoir-of-landmark-forum.html

Johnson, D. D. P. (2005). God’s punishment and public goods: A test of the supernatural punishment hypothesis in 186 world cultures. Human Nature, 16(4), 410–446. https://doi.org/10.1007/S12110-005-1017-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-005-1017-0

Johnson, S. L., Cueller, A. K., Ruggero, C., Winett-Perlman, C., Goodnick, P., White, R., & Miller, I. (2008). Life events as predictors of mania and depression in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(2), 268–277. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.117.2.268 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.117.2.268

Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, fast and slow. London: Penguin Books.

Kapur, S. (2003). Psychosis as a state of aberrant salience: A framework linking biology, phenomenology, and pharmacology in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(1), 13–23. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.13 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.13

Kastlefeer. (2005, November 29). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,12706,12706#msg-12706

Kirsch, M. A., & Glass, L. L. (1977). Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training: II. Additional cases and theoretical considerations. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134(11), 1254–1258. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.134.11.1254 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.134.11.1254

Kjaer, T. W., Bertelsen, C., Piccini, P., Brooks, D., Alving, J., & Lou, H. C. (2002). Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Research. Cognitive Brain Research, 13(2), 255–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0926-6410(01)00106-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0926-6410(01)00106-9

Klar, Y., Mendola, R., Fischer, J. D., Silver, R. C., Chinsky, J. M., & Goff, B. (1990). Characteristics of participants in a large group awareness training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58(1), 99–108. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.58.1.99 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.58.1.99

Koenders, M. A., Giltay, E. J., Spijker, A. T., Hoencamp, E., Spinhoven, P., & Elzinga, B. M. (2014). Stressful life events in bipolar I and II disorder: Cause or consequence of mood symptoms? Journal of Affective Disorders, 161, 55–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2014.02.036 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2014.02.036

Koenig, L. B., & Bouchard, T. J. (2006). Genetic and environmental influences on the trational moral values triad – authoritarianism, conservatism, and religiousness – as assessed by quantitative behavior genetic methods. In P. McNamara (Ed.). Where God and science meet: How brain and evolutionary studies alter our understanding of religion (pp. 31–60). Westport: Praeger Perspectives.

Kroll, J., & Sheehan, W. (1989). Religious beliefs and practices among 52 psychiatric inpatients in Minnesota. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146(1), 67–72. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.146.1.67 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.146.1.67

Landmark. (2013a). Course syllabus – the landmark forum – a day-by-day description. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/the-landmark-forum/syllabus

________. (2013b). Notice of important information and health warnings. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/~/media/files/pdf/025_fdlfif_130409.pdf

________. (2016a). Landmark forum: What is it? YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMo2xTY82-g

________. (2016b). The landmark forum – personal development courses – landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/the-landmark-forum

________. (2021a). Company overview – personal & professional growth – landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/about/company-overview

________. (2021b). Independent research | landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/why-landmark/independent-research

________. (2021c). Landmark company history | landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/about/company-overview/company-history

________. (2021d). Personal & professional growth, training & development – landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/

________. (2021e). Statistics and facts and details about landmark | landmark worldwide. Landmark Worldwide. https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/about/company-overview/fact-sheet

Langone, M. D. (1998). Large group awareness trainings. Cult Observer, 15(1). https://www.icsahome.com/articles/large-group-awareness-trainings-langone

Lazar, S. W., Bush, G., Gollub, R. L., Frichione, G. L., Khalsa, G., & Benson, H. (2000). Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation. NeuroReport, 11(7), 1581–1585. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200005150-00042 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200005150-00042

Lemonnier, M. (2005, May 19). With the gurus wearing neckties. Le Nouvel Observateur. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12420-with-the-gurus-wearing-neckties.html

Lewis, L. (2000). A consumer perspective concerning the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 48(6), 442–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3223(00)00921-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3223(00)00921-5

Libaw, O. (2002, August 13). “Transformation” in a weekend? ABC News. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12514-transformation-in-a-weekend-.html

Lieberman, M. A. (1987). Effects of large group awareness training on participants’ psychiatric status. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(4), 460–464. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.144.4.460 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.144.4.460

Lincoln, Y., & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry (1st ed.). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

lucie. (2006, November 29). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,25237,25264#msg-25264

luriete. (2005, February 25). Opinions of landmark forum. Ask MetaFilter. https://ask.metafilter.com/15619/Opinions-of-Landmark-Forum

Mahoney, R. (1998, August). Do you believe in miracles? Elle Magazine. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12396-do-you-believe-in-miracless.html

Malhi, G. S., & Berk, M. (2014). Diagnosing bipolar disorder: Defining thresholds and setting boundaries. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(6), 500–504. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867414536670 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867414536670

Marazziti, D., Dell’Osso, B., Baroni, S., Mungai, F., Catena, M., Rucci, P., Albanese, F., Giannaccini, G., Betti, L., Fabbrini, L., Italiani, P., Del Debbio, A., Lucacchini, A., & Dell’Osso, L. (2006). A relationship between oxytocin and anxiety of romantic attachment. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 2(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-0179-2-28/FIGURES/1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-0179-2-28

Martin, J. (1998, November). The con-forumists. Swing Generation Magazine. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12305-the-con-forumists.html

Martin, H. (2007, July 17). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,41336,41481#msg-41481

Mathison, D. (1993, February). White collar cults, they want your mind.... Self Magazine. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12422-white-collar-cults-they-want-your-mind.html

McCarney, R., Warner, J., Iliffe, S., Van Haselen, R., Griffin, M., & Fisher, P. (2007). The Hawthorne Effect: A randomised, controlled trial. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 7(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-7-30/TABLES/2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-7-30

McCauley, R. N., & Graham, G. (2020). Hearing voices and other matters of the mind: What mental abnormalities can teach us about religions. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190091149.001.0001

McClure, L. (2009, August 17). The Landmark Forum: 42 hours, $500, 65 breakdowns. Mother Jones Magazine. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/08/landmark-42-hours-500-65-breakdowns/

McNamara, P. (2009). The neuroscience of religious experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511605529

McNamara, P., Durso, R., & Brown, A. (2006). Religiosity in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Treatment, 2(3), 341–348. https://open.bu.edu/handle/2144/3176 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2147/nedt.2006.2.3.341

Montero-Marin, J., Perez-Yus, M. C., Cebolla, A., Soler, J., Demarzo, M., & Garcia-Campayo, J. (2019). Religiosity and meditation practice: Exploring their explanatory power on psychological adjustment. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(MAR), 630. https://doi.org/10.3389/FPSYG.2019.00630 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00630

Montreal. (2004, December 13). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,8044

Murdock, G. P. (1965). Culture and society twenty-four essays. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Murdock, G. P., & White, D. R. (1969). Standard cross-cultural sample. Ethnology, 8(4), 329–369. https://doi.org/10.2307/3772907 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3772907

Murray, E. D., Cunningham, M. G., & Price, B. H. (2012). The role of psychotic disorders in religious history considered. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 24(4), 410–426. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11090214 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11090214

Myint, K., Jayakumar, R., Hoe, S.-Z., Kanthimathi, M., & Lam, S.-K. (2017). Cortisol, B-endorphin and oxidative stress markers in healthy medical students in response to examination stress. Biomedical Research, 28(8), 3774–3779.

Newberg, A., Alavi, A., Baime, M., Pourdehnad, M., Santanna, J., & D’Aquili, E. (2001). The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during the complex cognitive task of meditation: A preliminary SPECT study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 106(2), 113–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-4927(01)00074-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-4927(01)00074-9

Nichols, D. E., & Chemel, B. R. (2006). The neuropharmacology of religious experience: Hallucinogens and the experience of the divine. In P. McNamara (Ed.). Where God and science meet: How brain and evolutionary studies alter our understanding of religion (pp. 1–33). Westport: Praeger Perspectives.

O’Brien, J. (2012, May 22). Get confident, stupid! GQ Magazine. https://www.gq.com/story/landmark-forum-get-confident-stupid-gq-may-2005

Odasso, D. (2011, November 17). My Landmark experience | HuffPost Life. The Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/my-landmark-experience_b_105502

Ouwehand, E., Braam, A. W., Renes, J. W., Hanneke, &, Muthert, J. K., & Zock, H. T. (2020). Holy apparition or hyper-religiosity: Prevalence of explanatory models for religious and spiritual experiences in patients with Bipolar Disorder and their associations with religiousness. Pastoral Psychology, 69(1), 29–45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-019-00892-3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-019-00892-3

Ouwehand, E., Zock, T. H., Muthert, J. K. H., Boeije, H., & Braam, A. W. (2019). “The awful rowing toward God”: Interpretation of religious experiences by individuals with Bipolar Disorder. Pastoral Psychology, 68(4), 437–462. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-019-00875-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-019-00875-4

Pani, L., Porcella, A., & Gessa, G. L. (2000). The role of stress in the pathophysiology of the dopaminergic system. Molecular Psychiatry, 5(1), 14–21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10673764 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.mp.4000589

Panksepp, J., & Biven, L. (2012). The archaeology of mind: Neuroevolutionary origins of human emotions. New York: W.W. Norton.

Parrot. (2004, August 25). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,5885,page=2

Passie, T., Halpern, J. H., Stichtenoth, D. O., Emrich, H. M., & Hintzen, A. (2008). The pharmacology of lysergic acid diethylamide: A review. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 14(4), 295–314. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1755-5949.2008.00059.X DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00059.x

pennbonbon. (2003, November 13). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,2628

Post, R. M., & Leverich, G. S. (2006). The role of psychosocial stress in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder and its comorbidities: The need for earlier and alternative modes of therapeutic intervention. Development and Psychopathology, 18(4), 1181–1211. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579406060573 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579406060573

Prasad, A. (2012, December). Landmark forum review – scam, cult or pyramid scheme? Ajithprasad.com. http://ajithprasad.com/landmark-forum-review-scam-cult-pyramid-scheme/

Pressman, S. (1993). Outrageous betrayal: The dark journey of Werner Erhard from est to exile. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Previc, F. H. (2006). The role of the extrapersonal brain systems in religious activity. Consciousness and Cognition, 15(3), 500–539. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CONCOG.2005.09.009 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2005.09.009

Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., Hall, W. C., LaMantia, A.-S., McNamara, J. O., & White, L. E. (Eds.). (2008). Neuroscience (4th ed.). Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Randolph-Schwartz, J. (1999). Dopamine projections and frontal systems function. In B. Miller & J. Cummings (Eds.). The human frontal lobes: Functions and disorders (pp. 159–173). New York: The Guilford Press.

Ranschaert, K. (2014, April 10). The landmark forum – don’t do it – top five fails of landmark forum. Growth guided. https://www.growthguided.com/the-landmark-forum-dont-do-it-top-five-fails-of-landmark-forum/

Ray, T. S. (2010). Psychedelics and the human receptorome. PloS One, 5(2), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0009019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009019

Rhinehart, L. (1976/2010). The book of est (Republish). Morrisville: Lulu.com.

Rougé-Pont, F., Abrous, D. N., Le Moal, M., & Piazza, P. V. (1999). Release of endogenous dopamine in cultured mesencephalic neurons: influence of dopaminergic agonists and glucocorticoid antagonists. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 11(7), 2343–2350. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10383623 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00650.x

Sagan, D. (2016). Sweet nothing part i: How I got my head handed to me at landmark – and handed it back, smiling. Wild river review. http://www.wildriverreview.com/lit/memoir/sweet-nothing-part-1/

Sakashita, Y., Abe, K., Katagiri, N., Kambe, T., Saitoh, T., Utsunomiya, I., Horiguchi, Y., & Taguchi, K. (2015). Effect of psilocin on extracellular dopamine and serotonin levels in the mesoaccumbens and mesocortical pathway in awake rats. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 38(1), 134–138. https://doi.org/10.1248/BPB.B14-00315 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.b14-00315

Saldana, J. (2011). Fundamentals of qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sanjukta, B. (2007, July 13). Heard of landmark forum? This is my truth. https://sanjukta.wordpress.com/2007/07/13/heard-of-landmark-forum/

Sansouci, J. (2014, January 30). Comfort zone crusade: The landmark forum. Healthy crush. http://healthycrush.com/comfort-zone-crusade-the-landmark-forum/

Sapolsky, R. M. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers (3rd ed.). New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingstone, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., Burroughs, H., & Jinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: Exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Quality & Quantity, 52(4), 1893–1907. https://doi.org/10.1007/S11135-017-0574-8 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-017-0574-8

Saver, J. L., & Rabin, J. (1997). The neural substrates of religious experience. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 9(3), 498–510. https://doi.org/10.1176/JNP.9.3.498 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/jnp.9.3.498

Schjødt, U., Stødkilde-Jørgensen, H., Geertz, A. W., & Roepstorff, A. (2008). Rewarding prayers. Neuroscience Letters, 443(3), 165–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2008.07.068 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2008.07.068

Scioscia, A. (2000, October 19). Drive-thru deliverance. Phoenix New Times. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12479-drive-thru-deliverance.html

semperadlucem. (2009). Knowing God Through Experience. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MvvauasSvY

Siddle, R., Haddock, G., Tarrier, N., & Faragher, E. B. (2002). Religious delusions in patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37(3), 130–138. https://doi.org/10.1007/S001270200005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001270200005

Silva, H. (2005, August 28). The cult of fashion. New York Times. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12529-the-cult-of-fashion.html

Singer, M. T. (2003). Cults in our midst (Revised). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

sonnie_dee. (2004, December 13). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,8044

________. (2006, January 19). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. https://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,13434,page=2

Stern Magazine. (1998, April 2). Soul strip tease. Stern Magazine. https://culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12430-soul-strip-tease.html

Storr, A. (1997). Feet of clay: Saints, sinners, and madmen: A study of gurus. New York: Free Press Paperbacks.

Sulalee. (2008, May 24). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,56520,56603#msg-56603

Sylvia. (2004, July 30). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,5986

Takahashi, K., Mizuno, K., Sasaki, A. T., Wada, Y., Tanaka, M., Ishii, A., Tajima, K., Tsuyuguchi, N., Watanabe, K., Zeki, S., & Watanabe, Y. (2015). Imaging the passionate stage of romantic love by dopamine dynamics. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9(APRIL), 191. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00191 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00191

Taylor, S. E., Saphire-Bernstein, S., & Seeman, T. E. (2010). Are plasma oxytocin in women and plasma vasopressin in men biomarkers of distressed pair-bond relationships? Psychological Science, 21(1), 3–7. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797609356507 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797609356507

Terrell, S. R. (2016). Writing a proposal for your dissertation: Guidelines and examples. New York: The Guilford Press.

The Anticult. (2009, March 4). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,66495,66561#msg-66561

Thornburgh, N. (2011, April 10). Change we can (almost) believe in. Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2055188-2,00.html

Vandenberg, M. (2000, February 10). Landmark: Come and see for yourself. Contact Magazine. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12490-landmark-come-and-see-for-yourself.html

vlinden. (2008, February 12). Large group awareness training, “human potential”. Cult Education Institute. http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4,52564,52979#msg-52979

Vollenweider, F. X., Vontobel, P., Hell, D., & Leenders, K. L. (1999). 5-HT modulation of dopamine release in basal ganglia in psilocybin-induced psychosis in man – a PET study with [11C]raclopride. Neuropsychopharmacology. Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(5), 424–433. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(98)00108-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(98)00108-0

Von Hungen, K., Roberts, S., & Hill, D. F. (1974). LSD as an agonist and antagonist at central dopamine receptors. Nature, 252(5484), 588–589. https://doi.org/10.1038/252588a0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/252588a0

Warrington, R. (2015). Brainwashed: is landmark a cult? The numinous. https://www.the-numinous.com/2015/04/05/is-landmark-a-cult/

Watts, V. J., Lawler, C. P., Fox, D. R., Neve, K. A., Nichols, D. E., & Mailman, R. B. (1995). LSD and structural analogs: Pharmacological evaluation at D1 dopamine receptors. Psychopharmacology, 118(4), 401–409. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02245940 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02245940

Whitehouse, H., & Mcquinn, B. (2013). Ritual and violence: Divergent modes of religiosity and armed struggle. In M. Juergensmeyer, M. Kitts, & M. Jerryson (Eds.). Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence (pp. 597–619). Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199759996.013.0039

Woodhouse, P., & Vandenberg, M. (2000, February 17). Landmark training “cost me my job.” Contact Magazine. https://www.culteducation.com/group/1020-landmark-education/12489-landmark-training-cost-me-my-job.html

Xu, W., & Zammit, K. (2020). Applying thematic analysis to education: A hybrid approach to interpreting data in practitioner research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 19, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406920918810 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406920918810

Xygalatas, D., Khan, S., Lang, M., Kundt, R., Kundtová-Klocová, E., Krátký, J., & Shaver, J. (2019). Effects of extreme ritual practices on psychophysiological well-being. Current Anthropology, 60(5), 699–707. https://doi.org/10.1086/705665 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/705665

Published

2022-07-27

How to Cite

Hunter, J. (2022). SEEKING God’s Presence: The Dopaminergic-Defense Hypothesis. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 8(1), 32–68. https://doi.org/10.1558/jcsr.22411

Issue

Section

Articles