Understanding terrorism american psychological association. Some psychologists believe terrorism is most accurately viewed through a political lens. Despite the extraordinary social and political consequences often associated with terrorist violence, as well as our responses to it, psychological research on terrorist behavior is conspicuously underdeveloped. Psychiatric and societal impacts of terrorism psychiatric times. People become terrorists in different ways, in different roles, and for different reasons. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about. Research on the psychology of terrorism has argued against the idea that most terrorist behavior is caused by mental illness or by a terrorist personality. Nevertheless, it is generally accepted that psychological explanations of terrorism must take. Individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis arie w. What are some of the main psychological theories that have been applied to understanding violence. John grohol is the founder and editorinchief of psych central.
The terrorists behaviour is neutralized with the belief that the magnitude of their cause makes individual acts of brutality necessary and insignificant. The psychological effects of witnessing terrorism require renewed and even more intensive study, particularly in light of the events that have taken place in france, though affect the lives of many nonfrench citizens who postevent take their trauma with them back to their own countries of dwelling. The two sides of the coin are undoubtedly very much linked but we think that difference is relevant to better understand research on terrorism. Four psychosocial theories and their application to patient education and clinical practice virginia m. The most popular psychological explanations of terrorism involve disruptive or psychopathological personalities. Though many might consider the why question the holy grail for what psychological research does exist, in a 2015 survey of the 100 mostcited articles on terrorism research, silke and schmidtpetersen 2015 found that the second and third and then fifth and sixth were research on psychological surveys of posttraumatic stress disorder, and stress reactions following the 911 attacks. The three theories including the psychopathological theory, the rational choice theory and the frustrationaggression hypothesis are all psychological theories of terrorism and explain the existence and activities of terrorism. From psychology of terrorists to psychology of terrorism. The search for the causes of terrorism is futile introduction. By synthesising relevant research and theory, critically contrast criminological and psychological theories of terrorism. It has a utility that overshadows the social theories and it outstrips the psychological theories of academics that, although taken more seriously a few decades ago, are now mostly confined to academia, think tanks, and opinion pieces. It begins by listing those studies that provide influential overviews of the different criminological explanations for terrorism, and then turns to the specific theories that have.
The government plans to drop the physical aspect of the definition of harm, thereby allowing the laws to account for the possibility of psychological harm being inflicted on individuals as a result of a terrorist action. Before doing so, let us look at what constitutes a theory. Individual responses to terrorism depend on a number of factors. War and terrorism serve several important functions.
More this paper has been submitted by user billy a. Psychological perspectives on terrorism, national security. The field of terrorism has been explored widely across social science epidemiology, including political and psychological theory due to its varied nature, motivation and application coppock et. However, from the standpoint of psychological theory, there are reasons to doubt a general causal link between either poverty or political repression and terrorism. While research is speculative, some researchers have tried to analyze terrorists by their propensity for violence or an inability to control their aggressive impulses. It has been with us for centuries and is a timeworn practice. Four psychosocial theories and their application to patient. Psychologist clark mccauley, phd, a coinvestigator at start and director of the solomon asch center for study of ethnopolitical conflict at bryn mawr college, has come to see terrorism as the warfare of the weakthe means by which groups that lack. Psychological vulnerabilities and propensities for involvement in violent extremism randy borum, psy.
This article identifies scholarship that has applied existing criminological theories to terrorism. Theyre finding it is generally more useful to view terrorism in terms of political and group dynamics. Policy makers and experts disagree about their theoretical perspectives. Given these complexities, the psychology of terrorism is marked more by theory and opinion than by good science, researchers admit. Speaking of psychology is an audio podcast series highlighting some of the latest, most important and relevant psychological research being conducted today. As social identity theory predicts, the selfidentification of terrorists as members. Considerable economic, military, political, and scientific resources are devoted these days to the war on terrorism. This can take a number of different forms, and may be fairly benign and easily ignored or more severe and adversely affect numerous other. Furthermore, two prominent socialpsychological theories like the social identity theory e. This special issue of american psychologist presents a series of articles that showcase new conceptual, theoretical, and empirical advances in our understanding of terrorism.
Psychological interventions following terrorist attacks. Jul 11, 2015 sociological and psychological theories of terrorism modern sociological perspectives are primarily concerned with the social construction of fear or panic, and how institutions and processes, especially the media, primary and secondary groups, maintain that expression of fear. The inception of modern psychology is customarily chronicled around the end. With the proliferation of explanations about terrorism, the body of theories has grown considerably since the 1980s, when schmid first summarized existing theories. Multiple theories and some demographic data have been published, but very few controlled empirical studies have been conducted investigating the psychological bases of terrorism. Psychological terrorism is typically a form of terrorism that primarily targets peoples psychological well being and state of mind, with the intent of having a negative impact on those people. Nov 30, 2019 this essay on the psychological explanation of terrorism was written and submitted by your fellow student. In contrast to interpersonal and individualistic explanations of terrorism, we also have social psychological research which turns its gaze in the surface and offers more promising explanations for terrorism and radicalization, while at the same time acknowledging the relevant political context. The study of psychological factors contributing to terrorism has brought forward a wealth of models and theories on why people get involved in terrorism. For example, they increase social solidarity as a society unites to defeat a perceived enemy. At a minimum, there are three approaches to studying terrorism.
Donald lack 2004 argues from a structural perspective that a groups structure and purpose cause it to commit terrorism not individual group members with specific psychological traits who are making individual rational choices. Genetic makeup, social contexts, past experiences, and future expectations may interact with the characteristics of the traumatic event to produce a psychological response. Social psychological theories of aggression provide political scientists with greater ability to understand what psychological and sociological. Terrorism studies is a highly heterogeneous field with a broad range of theories and disciplines, marked by ample debates.
Psychologists are amassing more concrete data on the factors that lead some. Produced by the american psychological association, these podcasts will help listeners apply the science of psychology to their everyday lives. Terrorism has existed for long even before the advent of recorded history. One of the side effects of globalization is terrorism. Its explanation may be biased by political assumptions and social prejudices. Psychological theories of terrorism premium assignment help. The field of terrorism has been explored widely across social science epidemiology, including political and psychological theory due to its varied nature, motivation and application coppock et al, 2014. Library of congress federal research division the sociology and psychology of terrorism. This theory posits that we defend our own worldview, i. Terrorism and politically motivated violence, psychological. Presumably, the underlying logic of such a hypothesized link is that poverty and oppression foster frustration, fomenting aggression against others, ergo terrorism. Psychological research is not only relevant but also essential to understanding this issue.
Therefore, the political science theories are the focus in this study. The mind of the terrorist ministry of europe and foreign. The psychological explanation of terrorism 2023 words. In the book, the three psychologists explore the terrorist attacks and the reactions of the public to this social upheaval in the context of a theory rooted in the work. Terrorism clearly indicates that the nature of man has not changed, but three significant issues including commerce globalization, transfer of information and travel. In addition to those, economic and psychological theories of terrorism are evaluated from the other disciplines. Ariel merari and nehemia friedland, social psychological aspects of political terrorism, applied social psychology annual 6 1985, pp. Criminological explanations for terrorism criminology. Psychosocial theories of terrorism attempt to elaborate the objectives and goals of terrorists, root ca uses of terrorism and nature of terrorist attacks. New book explains theory behind terrorism american psychological. The most popular psychological explanations of terrorism involve disruptive or. Furthermore, analysis risks being driven by events or the concerns of policymakers. Some wars have also helped preserve freedom and democracy. It created new threats, a sense of everyday risk and the globalization of local misfortunes.
Although early writings on the psychology of terrorism were based mostly in psychoanalytic theory e. Classical and modern psychoanalytic theories of political violence and terrorism. In this weeks episode of hidden brain, we look at the social and psychological drivers behind international terrorism, and why our best efforts to prevent radicalization so often fail. May 05, 2020 psychological terrorism is typically a form of terrorism that primarily targets peoples psychological well being and state of mind, with the intent of having a negative impact on those people. Psychology of terrorism social psychology iresearchnet. Pdf an overview of the political theories of terrorism. Dec 15, 2015 in this weeks episode of hidden brain, we look at the social and psychological drivers behind international terrorism, and why our best efforts to prevent radicalization so often fail. Close proximity to the event, severity of exposure, low levels of social support, previous psychiatric. The uk prime minister david cameron has explained the problem of islamic terrorism in terms of a poisonous narrative of extremism which is being fed to young people. War and militarism primarily advance the interests of the militaryindustrial complex and take billions of dollars from. Indeed, the psychology of terrorism has become one of psychologys major growth markets. It begins by listing those studies that provide influential overviews of the different criminological explanations for terrorism, and then turns to the specific theories that have sought to explain the origins and motivations for terrorism.
Terrorism and politically motivated violence, psychological theories. The fear stemming from threat perception may lead to incorrect assessments of risk and riskaverse attitudes that, in turn, impinge upon confidence in government institutions. But a number of psychologists are starting to put together reliable data. An overview of the political theories of terrorism. These data demonstrate how cyberterrorism, like conventional terrorism, impairs psychological wellbeing and increase perceptions of threat. In search of psychological explanations of terrorism oxford. Instrumental, organizational and political communication approaches are taken as the principal representatives of political science theories of terrorism. Even though the scholarly literature on this subject has been multiplied over the last decade, there is still little, if any consensus, on what psychological factors are necessary or sufficient to explain terrorism. Psychological factors in terrorism and counterterrorism.178 1463 90 453 1051 1100 648 1058 421 1264 563 1469 325 1092 278 1451 1028 792 595 253 750 663 421 598 761 893 212 582 8 1004