Special Report: The Psychology Of Terrorism

Posted on June 14, 2016

The experts writing in this special report share some valuable insights from recent studies, classical research and professional experience. Social psychologists Stephen D. Reicher and S. Alexander Haslam make the case that most terrorists are not psychopaths or sadists, much as we would like to believe. Instead the majority are ordinary people, shaped by group dynamics to do harm in the name of a cause they find noble and just. Critically, those group dynamics involve all of us: our overreaction and fear can beget greater extremism, thereby fueling a cycle other scholars have termed “co-radicalization.”

Social psychologists Kevin Dutton and Dominic Abrams consider how we can all help break the cycle of co-radicalization, drawing on seven key studies for concrete suggestions. Among those ideas: bridging the toxic divide of mutual distrust by celebrating broader social identities—much as President Barack Obama did so powerfully in his address to Muslim Americans at a Baltimore mosque this past February. Instead of listening to “polemical pundits and belligerent blowhards,” Dutton and Abrams write, we all need a brain check: keep calm and “tune in to the quieter, more discerning notes emanating from some of our laboratories.”

To read the full article, click the link below.


Source material from Scientific American

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