Related on TestTube
Why Are Terrorists Targeting Paris?
Hate Crime vs. Terrorism: What's The Difference?
Today, DNews and TestTube News cover last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, taking a bit of a step back. Here, DNews poses the question: what do we know about terrorists, on a psychological level? Most research seems to indicate that there is no archetype that defines terrorists. Researchers like Steve Taylor, a psychologist from Leeds Beckett University have found that terrorists tend to be relatively young men, often yearning for some kind of clearer belonging or purpose. Throughout history, terrorist groups have grown by fostering a group identity, making members look at the world as an "us vs. them" perspective. Experts who study radical groups say this helps eliminate people's sense of empathy, making it easier to inflict harm on innocent people.
Religion can also be a factor, as the case with the Islamic State. Dr. Max Abrahms, a political scientist, has studied religious extremist groups and found that members are largely "ignorant people with respect to religion and they are generally the newest members to the religion."
That said, the more researchers study groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, the IRA, and others, the more they can understand why these people join and potentially help people become deradicalized.
Understanding terrorism (APA)
"Psychologists are amassing more concrete data on the factors that lead some people to terrorism-and using those insights to develop ways to thwart it."
The Psychology of Terrorism (Psychology Today)
"According to some estimates, at least 500 young British men of Asian descent have travelled to Syria or Iraq to become jihadis in extremist groups. 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."