I found these criteria, attributed to James Lifton.

  • Dictating with whom members can communicate.
  • Convincing members they are a chosen people with a higher purpose.
  • Creating an us-versus-them mentality, whereby everything in the group is right and everything outside is wrong.
  • Encouraging members to share their innermost secrets and then purge whatever hinders their merging with the group.
  • Convincing members that their philosophical belief system is "the absolute truth".
  • Creating an "in" language of buzzwords and group speak which becomes a substitute for critical thinking.
  • Reinterpreting human experience and emotion in terms of the group's doctrine.
  • Reinforcing the idea that life within the group is good and worthy, and life outside evil and pointless. </ul>