The Psychological Approach

The Psychological Approach - psychology of terrorism is...

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The Psychological Approach In contrast with political scientists and sociologists, who are interested in the political and social contexts of terrorist groups, the relatively few psychologists who study terrorism are primarily interested in the micro-level of the individual Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism 19 terrorist or terrorist group. The psychological approach is concerned with the study of terrorists per se, their recruitment and induction into terrorist groups, their personalities, beliefs, attitudes, motivations, and careers as terrorists. GENERAL HYPOTHESES OF TERRORISM If one accepts the proposition that political terrorists are made, not born, then the question is what makes a terrorist. Although the scholarly literature on the
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Unformatted text preview: psychology of terrorism is lacking in full-scale, quantitative studies from which to ascertain trends and develop general theories of terrorism, it does appear to focus on several theories. One, the Olson hypothesis, suggests that participants in revolutionary violence predicate their behavior on a rational cost-benefit calculus and the conclusion that violence is the best available course of action given the social conditions. The notion that a group rationally chooses a terrorism strategy is questionable, however. Indeed, a groups decision to resort to terrorism is often divisive, sometimes resulting in factionalization of the group....
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