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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Vol. 1, No. 2, May 2009, 127–149
ISSN 1943-4472 print/ISSN 1943-4480 online
© 2009 Society for Terrorism Research
DOI: 10.1080/19434470802482183
Interdisciplinary Analyses of Aggression and Terrorism
Program and Abstracts
Taylor and FrancisRIRT_A_348386.sgm10.1080/19434470802482183Interdisciplinary Research on Terrorism and Political1943-4472 (print)/1943-4480 (online)Original Article2009Taylor & Francis110000002008J.Martin Co-editors
J. Martin Ramirez
Professor of Psychobiology Head,
Aggression Research Group,
Universidad Complutense Madrid
Tali K. Walters
Forensic Psychologist
Vice President, Society for Terrorism Research
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry,
Tufts University School of Medicine and
Tufts-New England Medical Center
PO Box 8483 Boston, MA 02114
(Received 27 September 2007; final form 1 June 2008)
Miraflores de la Sierra (Madrid, Spain)
27–30 September 2007
SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM Page 127 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
128 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
(in session order)
Convenor: Tom Pyszczynski (United States)
Participants: Abdollhossein Abdollahi (Iran)
Thomas Arciszewski (France)
Bertjan Doosje (the Netherlands),
Tom Pyszczynski (United States)
Jean-François Verlhiac (France)
Hanna Zagefka (UK)
Anja Zimmermann (the Netherlands)
Terror management theory and the psychology of terrorism and political
Tom Pyszczynski (United States)
Terror management theory provides a psychological analysis of the functions of
culture and why cultural differences often lead to lethal conflict. Recent experiments
exploring the role that terror management processes play in the current conflict in the
Middle East have shown that subtle reminders of death increase support for suicide
bombings among Iranians, harsher military tactics among Israelis and support for
extreme military interventions among Americans. Experiments have also shown that
subliminal reminders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and media coverage of terrorism
increase the accessibility of death-related thoughts outside of conscious awareness,
and that reminders of either death or 9/11 increase support for President Bush and his
policies in Iraq among Americans. On a more encouraging note, research shows that
subtle activation of a sense of “common humanity” reverses anti-Arab prejudice
among Americans, that priming compassionate passages from the Christian Bible
reverse the effects of death reminders so that they reduce support for extreme military
interventions among Americans, and that priming compassionate values from the
Koran have a similar conflict-reducing approach among Iranians. Other recent devel-
opments in our research on these issues will be discussed.
Results of an International Collaboration
Attributions of responsibility and reactions to terrorist threat in the United
Kingdom and Netherlands
Anja Zimmermann, Bertjan Doosje (the Netherlands) and Hanna Zagefka (UK)
Terrorist threat can be perceived as directed against the whole group (e.g. the group’s
democratic or cultural values) or against the individual (e.g. the risk of being person-
ally hit by a terror attack). This talk will focus on factors that determine whether indi-
viduals, groups or broader social institutions are blamed for terror threat, e.g. terrorists,
Islam or the in-group (e.g. government). The first study (n = 78, UK) highlights that
perceived personal threat of terrorism is associated with greater identification with the Page 128 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 129
British. However, perceived group threat is only associated with greater identification
if the in-group is not blamed for the terrorist threat. The second study (n = 118)
compared non-Islamic and Islamic respondents living in the Netherlands. Perceived
personal threat predicted prejudice and anger among non-Islamic participants, whereas
perceived group threat did so among Islamic participants. The findings are discussed
from the perspective of terror management theory, with a focus on how attachment to
the in-group and reactions to the outgroup depend on attributions of responsibility for
terror threat.
A terror management theory perspective on attitudes toward immigration and
terrorism in France
Thomas Arciszewski and Jean-François Verlhiac (France)
Terror management theory posits that people are motivated to maintain faith in their
cultural worldviews because of the protection from a deeply rooted fear of death that
their worldviews provide. From this perspective, people react negatively to those who
adhere to different beliefs and values because such beliefs threaten faith in one’s own
worldview, and the protection from anxiety that one’s worldview provides. Research
has supported this idea by showing that, across very diverse groups, reminders of
death increase in-group favoritism, and rejection of and violence toward those who
are different from oneself. For many years, long-time residents of European countries
have exhibited negative attitudes, discrimination and in some cases violence, toward
immigrants. These problems seem to have increased in recent years, perhaps in
response to the fear of terrorism, which is closely related to the fear of death. In this
presentation, we discuss recent research conducted in Paris to assess the terror
management analysis of negative attitudes toward immigrants. These studies have
shown that reminders of death lead to more negative attitudes toward a specific immi-
grant and immigrants in general among those high in ____ but more positive attitudes
toward immigrants among those ________. The relevance of these results for under-
standing the increasing conflict over the issue of immigration will be discussed.
Exploring terror management processes in Iran: implications for understanding
the current conflict
Abdollhossein Abdollahi (Iran)
Terror management theory posits that the fear of death plays an important role in diverse
forms of human behavior, and encourages allegiance to one’s cultural worldview and
behavior that meets or exceeds the standards of value that are part of one’s worldview.
Given that death is dealt with more openly in Islamic cultures than in the West, and to
some extent actively celebrated, it is important to consider whether the findings of terror
management research generalize to the Islamic world. Recent studies conducted in Iran
have shown that reminders of death produce the same effects on judgments of moral
transgressions, charitable giving and attachment to parents as found in Western coun-
tries. Furthermore, just as it has been shown that reminders of death increase support
for harsh military policies among Americans and Israelis, research has shown that
reminders of death increase support for martyrdom attacks among Iranians. On a more
hopeful note, research has also shown that the violence-promoting effect of reminders
of death can be reversed among Iranians by reminding them of compassionate Islamic
AQ1 Page 129 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
130 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
teachings, just as these tendencies can be reversed among Americans by reminding
them of compassionate Christian teachings. This research suggests that the same
psychological variables specified by terror management theory increase and decrease
support for violent solutions in both the Islamic and Western world.
Anxiety buffer breakdown theory: an application of terror management ideas to
the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder
Tom Pyszczynski (United States) and Abdollhossein Abdollahi (Iran)
Anxiety buffer breakdown theory is an application of terror management theory to the
problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that hopes to provide an integrative
framework for understanding the processes the lead to this disorder and show how
PTSD relates to other less personally devastating but perhaps more socially damaging
responses to trauma. From this perspective, PTSD results from a breakdown of the
normal anxiety-buffering system that occurs when people are confronted with dramatic
confrontations with death and vulnerability under circumstances that shatter the most
basic assumptions of their anxiety-buffering cultural worldview. This breakdown of
normal anxiety-buffering functions occurs when people dissociate at the time of the
traumatic event. As a result of this breakdown of their anxiety buffers, PTSD-afflicted
individuals are flooded with raw anxiety, which is manifested in waves of panic, flash-
backs, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and the like, and which lead to difficulty regu-
lating behavior, fits of rage and feelings of isolation from others who cannot relate to
or understand their experiences. Because of the breakdown in anxiety-control, attempts
to down-regulate this distress are impaired, leading to further problems, feelings of low
efficacy and hopelessness, and attempts to self-regulate and self-medicate through the
use of alcohol and other drugs. An initial study testing hypotheses derived from this
study will be presented. Victims of the 2005 Kerman-Zarand Earthquake in Iran expe-
riences were contacted 1–2 months after the disaster, completed a measure of peri-
traumatic dissociative and participated in a typical terror management study in which
they were randomly assigned to be asked short questions about their own death, the
earthquake or an aversive topic unrelated to either (dental pain). Their attitudes toward
foreign aid to earthquake victims were then assessed as a measure of worldview
defense. Much like results from previous research, persons low in dissociative tenden-
cies responded to reminders of either death or the earthquake with more negative
attitudes toward foreign aid (showed increased worldview defense), but showed no sign
of negative affect in response to these reminders. In contrast, participants high in
dissociative tendencies, who are at risk for PTSD, did not show increased worldview
defense in response to reminders of either death or the earthquake, but did show
increased negative affect in response to both. These data are consistent with the prop-
osition that dissociators do not show normal worldview defense but are much more
emotionally distraught by reminders of traumatic events than non-dissociators.
Low hanging fruit. Some things to study about terrorism
Arthur J. Kendall (United States)
As part of APA’s Task Force on Psychological Effects of Efforts to Prevent Terrorism,
the author formulated a rationale for social and behavioral scientists studying terrorism.
He identified many topics about which consensus conferences could apply existing Page 130 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 131
knowledge to terrorism. These conferences could also identify areas where future
research could be fruitfully done. He drew on knowledge gained via his participation
in the International Society of Political Psychology since 1978, a 21-year career at the
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), mostly in National Security and
International Affairs, and several years’ participation in GAO’s internal Terrorism
Knowledge Network to do this. The ideas expressed in this talk will be strictly those
of the author and do not reflect the position of any agency or organization.
Beyond definition: conceptual models of terrorism and the threat to civil society
W. Michael Dunaway (United States)
Our current understanding of terrorism has been shaped by efforts to identify a
comprehensive definition that would foster international cooperation in countering
terrorism. Little corresponding effort has been devoted to developing a conceptual
framework for understanding how the tactical employment of terrorism relates to the
strategic objectives of terrorists. This paper surveys recent efforts to develop a concep-
tual framework of terrorism with the objective of addressing:
how anti-terrorism policies have been shaped by the quest for a comprehensive
why definitions of terrorism are and will continue to be inadequate to the task;
what conceptual models offer to understanding that definitions do not;
why a conceptual framework of terrorism is needed and what it would achieve.
In conclusion, a conceptual framework is presented that illustrates the strategic
dilemma arising from the “terrorism as war” vs “terrorism as crime” paradigm
that characterizes current approaches to terrorism.
The threat of nuclear terrorism
Guillermo Velarde (Spain)
Nuclear terrorism is an evil application of nuclear energy, in the same way that chem-
ical and biological terrorism could be considered as the evil side of chemistry and
biology. Three different types of nuclear terrorism are presented: (1) dirty bombs or
radioactive bombs or radiological dispersion devices (RDD); (2) improvised nuclear
devices or crude nuclear bombs (IND); and (3) attack to nuclear facilities (ANF).
Dirty bombs are weapons aiming to create panic and with a high cost of decontami-
nation. This paper analyses some experiments and their results as well as the illicit
trafficking involving radioactive sources. We will also approach the measures to be
taken in the case of the explosion of a dirty bomb. With respect to crude atom bombs,
we will describe the type of bombs preferred by the terrorists, the acquisition of the
enriched uranium for their use and the effects produced in the case of the explosion of
an IND. Finally, we will see the probabilities of an attack and the biological damage
derived from the explosion of both dirty and crude atom bombs.
A Buddhist-secular ethics approach to nuclear terrorism, from an Australian
Adam Breasley (Australia)
From the Buddhist perspective, aggression is the result of a misconception of what is
ultimately useful, for ourselves, in achieving our objective of finding happiness and Page 131 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
132 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
avoiding suffering. From the Buddhist perspective, it is anger itself which is the
source of suffering. Shantideva, the eighth-century Indian Buddhist saint and scholar,
from Nalanda University, in the Bodhisattvacharyavatara (translation: “A Guide to
The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life"), a text which is often quoted and taught by the
Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, opens his chapter on Patience by stating:
1. Whatever wholesome deeds,
Such as venerating the Buddhas and generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand aeons
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.
2. There is no transgression like hatred,
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditate on patience.
In the age of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the possibility that all will “be destroyed
in one moment of anger” is certainly true. So how can we avoid this? By drawing on
the practical lessons contained in Shantideva’s eighth-century chapter on patience
(and the author’s personal experience from this year of lessons given by the Dalai
Lama in Dharamsala, India, and by Venerable Samdhong Rinpoche, Chief Minister of
the Tibetan-Government-In-Exile, in 2005), examined from a secular multi-faith
perspective and from a contemporary Australian–Asia Pacific perspective concerning
the phenomena of terrorism and nuclear weapons, and with a particular focus on the
need for cultivating (most especially for a great number of disaffected youth) holistic
peace education in our societies, this paper explores the possibility of the practical
application of developing the quality of patience within ourselves, as an antidote to
CBRN terrorism and its implications
Arvind Kumar (India)
The international community in the existing milieu bears a very special responsibility
for the security of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials in
order to ensure that the possibility of such materials falling into terrorists’ hands
should not arise. Hence, CBRN terrorism must be controlled at the source. Such
controls and containment are very complicated. The international environment is in a
precarious condition because of the rise of non-state actors. The enemy is invisible in
the current environment. The September 11 event in the year 2001 has changed the
whole paradigm of security structure and national apparatus.
The conceptualization of cyberterrorism
Amanda M. Sharp Parker (United States)
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks and subsequent attacks in Madrid, London and
Bombay, the concept of terrorist has been brought to the forefront of the collective
conscience. In a world where technology is ever changing, a new threat is beginning
to emerge: the threat of cyberterrorism. The concept of cyberterrorism has been misde-
fined throughout the literature. An act of cyberterrorism has not yet occurred; however,
terrorists are enhancing their technological training and an attack is immanent. This
paper examines the difference between hacking, cybercrime and cyberterrorism. It
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 133
is imperative to have a correct conceptualization of cyberterrorism before research in
this area can move forward productively.
Jihadist terrorism in Spain: assessing current threats and evaluating institu-
tional responses
Fernando Reinares (Spain)
This keynote speech is intended, first, to broadly analyse the current threat posed to
Spain by jihadist terrorism, focusing on statements from Al Qaeda leadership, the
sociological profile of its followers imprisoned in the country and the evolution of
international terrorist networks across the nearby Maghreb. Second, the keynote
speech aims to describe and evaluate major developments in the adaptation of national
security stuctures so as to properly face the persistent threat of jihadist terrorism after
the Madrid bombings and discusses significant public opinion perceptions of the
Convenor: Luis Francisco de Jorge (Spain)
Luis Francisco de Jorge-Mesas (Spain)
Baltasar Garzón (Spain)
Joseph F. Pilat (United States)
Fernando Reinares (Spain)
A panel of experts on terrorism will explain their views about the causes of terrorism,
specially the jihadist terrorism and the terrorism of ETA in Spain. Each of them will
present a speech about their position on this subject. After the presentations, there will
be a dialogue with the participants and between the speakers, answering questions and
debating about the topic.
Reassessing the Causes of Terrorism
Joseph F. Pilat (United States)
The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent terrorist bombings in
Casablanca, Istanbul, Riyadh, Madrid, London, Mumbai and elsewhere have intensi-
fied concerns and renewed calls to better understand the causes of terrorism. There are
divergent views on this question, which reflect philosophical, religious, political and
other differences. Terrorism has been argued to be caused by rising population,
increased poverty, rapid urbanization, declining traditional authority, globalization,
etc. Differences over causes affect understandings of both the threat of and responses
to terrorism. Responses to emerging threats, including actions to reduce conditions
that create terrorist support and aid recruitment, will be affected by beliefs about
terrorism’s causes. This paper provides an analytical framework for evaluating the
limits to understanding the causes of terrorism, identifying what can be known about
causation and assessing the implications for counterterrorism. Page 133 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
134 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
Terrorism perception and its consequences following the 7 July 2005 bombings:
a four-wave study in London, UK
Robin Goodwin (UK)
In these two studies we examine psychological responses to terrorism threats following
the London bombings in July 2005. In study 1, we compared security and benevolence
values, behavioral changes and cognitive concerns of a total of 529 respondents
collected in separate cohorts in 2003, the week following the July bombings, and in
three subsequent months. Security values were higher after the bombings: benevolence
values, travel activity and cognitive concerns changed as predicted after the attacks,
but subsequently rebounded to previous levels. In study 2, we modeled predictors of
terrorism anxiety and perceived likelihood of further attacks, and their behavioral and
cognitive consequences. Age, sex, normative expectations, values and personal control
all predicted anxiety or perceived likelihood of attack. Anxiety was a significant predic-
tor of negative coping, work-place distraction and increased interpersonal contacts.
Implications of these findings are discussed in the light of continuing terrorist threats.
Preventing terrorism: nationalist violence and conflict resolution in the Basque
Ioannis Tellidis (Greece/Scotland, UK)
This paper examines terrorism from the point of view of one choice (out of many) that
social movements have at their disposal. It examines terrorism as politics conducted
with other means and contextualizes it so it can account for its use by disparate social
movements (feminists, nationalists, religious fundamentalists, animal right activists,
etc.). It is this paper’s aim to explain the manifestation of violence in the Basque
Country by looking at (1) the nationalist discourse with all its symbolisms, legends
and historicisms and (2) the failure of the state, both as a dictatorship as well as a
liberal democracy later on, to safeguard its citizens’ human rights. Such examination
is necessary to reveal the political stalemate of the conflict and to reveal the third and
most significant actor in the conflict, the Basque society. The constant weakening of
ETA is not only attributed to the police efficacy, local or international, but also to the
reversal of violence’s connotations in the perceptions of that society. While nationalist
sentiment is still strong, for the past decade the civic society movement that rejects
violence and promotes constitutional pressure has grown immensely and has dealt a
serious blow (1) to the militant fractions and their network of support and (2) to the
political parties who stalemated the conflict, more often than not, for political gains.
Based on the examination of the Basque case, I will argue that terrorism, used as a
method of political communication by social movements, is preventable.
International order, Middle East region and terrorist mind
Maria Dolores Algora (Spain)
Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has become the main strategic area for
a new international order. Unresolved old conflicts – like the Arab–Israeli one – and
new conflicts and their aftermaths – like the last war of Iraq in 2003 – show a tumul-
tuous region full of threats to world order at the present. One of the main difficulties Page 134 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 135
in preventing and resolving conflicts are the new methods of “asymmetric wars” based
on terrorism attacks. The terrorist action has been consecrated in the context of Islam,
as a self-defense tool against the international troops or even against local inhabitants.
This new interpretation of terrorism has become very widespread throughout the
Middle East and further away from the region – everywhere where occidental interests
are present. The inadequate methods to tackle the terrorist attacks are causing Islamic
radicalism and the recruitment of terrorists to increase inside Middle East societies. In
this sense, it is very important to understand the mind of a terrorist who becomes a
suicide bomber and the social environment which protects and motivates him in his
actions and aims. The subject of our paper is the analysis of these social situations and
how can they influence a terrorist’s mind. The only way to find solutions to terrorism
is to understand how a terrorist thinks and how he perceives himself and his attack.
Middle Eastern solutions cannot only be achieved by political agreements but also
require a social understanding
Support for violence and war on terrorism under existential threat: differential
moderation by religiosity and belief in European cultural superiority
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala (Poland)
The presented studies distinguish moderating effects of ethnocentric vs intrinsically
religious beliefs on the inter-group attitudes and behaviour in mortality salience condi-
tions. The belief in the superiority of the European culture is shown to strengthen the
inter-group negativity in the context of the Western vs Arab world conflict, whereas
intrinsically religious beliefs are shown to mitigate the inter-group negativity. Study 1
used classical mortality salience manipulation (Greenberg et al., 1990), whereas study
2 used mortality salience as the terrorist threat manipulation (Landau et al., 2004). The
results indicate that in mortality salience conditions intrinsic religiousness was nega-
tively related to support for escalatory strategies in inter-group conflict and support for
war on the Arab world. At the same time, in mortality salience conditions ethnocentric
belief was positively associated with choice of escalatory strategies and support for
the war. There was no significant relationship in control conditions in both cases.
Hezbollah as a social movement
Emmanuel Karagiannis (Greece)
Although frequently labeled a terrorist group, Hezbollah is a social movement that, like
Hamas in Palestine, provides an assortment of social services for the Shia community.
Its leadership is well educated, modern and rational. In fact, Hezbollah runs hospitals,
schools, orphanages and a television station. In addition, after the 2005 elections,
Hezbollah held 23 seats (up from eight previously) in the 128-member Lebanese
Parliament. A narrow focus on its violent methods misses the larger dynamics of the
movement, which are better understood in terms of social movement mobilization.
Social movements often use frames to mobilize support. Frames give new meaning to
people’s lives. In addition, frames identify targets of blame, offer visions of a desirable
world and suggest strategies for political change, and provide a rationale to motivate
collective action. The paper will show how a social movement framework that focuses
on social justice frames is an effective way for providing a comprehensive understand-
ing of Hezbollah.
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136 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
Characteristics of global terrorism
Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría (Spain)
The end of the Cold War together with the high-risk policy carried out by the powers
during it resulted in a new international order in which global terrorism has experi-
enced several specific characteristics that distinguish it from the conventional terrorist
practice known before September 11, 2001. Among these features the following have
been considered: the leading-role of non-state actors; the religious factor and the
underlying goal of confronting civilizations; the existence of major destructive power,
leading to the potential capability for terrorists to obtain and use nuclear, biological or
chemical weapons. On the other hand, the technological advances in cybercommuni-
cation, which reaches almost everywhere in the world, are a valuable tool for terrorists
to organize, control and develop their operations. Related to these operations, it has
been reported by official institutions that they obtain economic support from financing
systems out of governmental control that are mainly fed by illicit activities such as
Convenor: Brian T. Mullan (Northern Ireland, UK)
Sharon Campbell (Northern Ireland, UK)
Mary Corry (Northern Ireland, UK)
Martin Murphy (Northern Ireland, UK)
Zora Monyneaux (Northern Ireland, UK)
How, in the Victim Sector, do we seek to manage our personal reactions as we engage
professionally in our work?
How do we emerge from the overarching threats we have lived with over
decades safely into the new arrangements both personally and professionally?
What is the interaction between statutory bodies and those working directly with
individual victims of violence?
Does hierarchy of victimhood mean the systematic exclusion of those who work
professionally within this field?
Over 30 years of conflict tells us not to trust one another and that people get
killed/injured/traumatized – in our professional roles what experiences have we
had of trust forming across boundaries to support victims and survivors, and
how this can be built upon for a better future in Northern Ireland?
What in our experience tells us that healing work comes from grassroots
involvement and a partnership approach?
What next for Northern Ireland – now that we have a new devolved government
(8 May), will victims’ needs be met or forgotten about?
A panel of people will discuss these issues in an open and frank manner, focusing on
the Northern Irish experience of the conflict. Page 136 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 137
The development of terrorists from childhood to adulthood
L. Rowell Huesmann (United States)
While significant research has accumulated over the past century about the develop-
mental psychology of aggressive and violent behavior, few attempts have been made
to apply this research to understanding what makes a terrorist. In fact, anthropologists,
political scientists and others have argued that “terrorists are just like you and me”
psychologically. In this presentation I argue that these claims are psychologically
naive. Certain patterns of development predispose some individuals to be more at risk
of engaging in terrorism, and the social-cognitive theory that has evolved to explain
individual aggressive behavior can predict what kind of youth is most likely to
become a terrorist. The proximate causes of the act may be situational factors and
social-organizational pressures, but I propose that four psychological characteristics
predispose some youths to be more susceptible than others: (1) low baseline arousal
and little negative emotional reaction to violence; (2) intense continuing negative
feelings of frustration, rage or even simple dysphoria; (3) a distorted cognitive schema
that the world is a “mean” place where hostile, evil forces thrive; and (4) normative
beliefs that the proposed terrorist act is “right”. The belief may be based on religious
indoctrination, strong prosocial ties for a community with a belief that the act will help
them or a strong need for the approval that it is perceived will come from the act.
I propose that these characteristics are likely to be learned naturally in many youths in
the deprived, repressive, unjust and violent environments in which they grow up and
from exposure to media images and interpretations of the violence around them. These
processes grow the individual to the point where they are susceptible to the situational
and organizational forces that are proximate stimuli for the terrorist act.
When the last of us has died: conversations with children in the midst of a long
ethnic war
Alice LoCicero, Samuel Justin Sinclair and an anonymous collaborator (United
Conditions fostering child soldiers also foster youthful terrorism. These conditions
have little to do with family functioning or individual pathology, but a great deal to do
with failure of infrastructure. The presenter will provide multiple examples from
various continents.
Assessing fears of terrorism: development of the terrorism catastrophizing scale
Samuel J. Sinclair and Alice LoCicero (United States)
The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a new tool, the Terrorism Cata-
strophizing Scale (TCS), rooted in terror management theory (TMT) (Pyszczynski,
Solomon, & Greenberg, 2003) and Beck’s (1976) cognitive–behavioral model (CBM)
of psychopathology. Participants were representative of the U.S. general population
(n = 503). Results indicate that a shortened 13-item version of the TCS, measuring
three interrelated sub-components (Rumination, Magnification, and Helplessness),
optimized model fit in a confirmatory factor analysis, met all tests of scaling assump-
tions and fitted a generalized partial credit item response model. Consistent with TMT
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138 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
and CBM, respectively, results also show that self-esteem and social connectedness
are negatively associated (p < 0.05) with terrorism catastrophizing, and that terrorism
catastrophizing is a significant predictor (p < 0.05) of behavioral change to reduce
perceived threat and symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. The implications and
limitations of this study are discussed.
Gazing into an abyss: image of terrorists and its psychological moderators
Tom Kubik and Magorzata Kossowska (Poland)
The aim of the study was to examine how people portray terrorists. In the first stage,
researchers conducted qualitative research to find the basic elements that form the
representation of terrorists. Subsequently, a quantitive study was designed, to reveal
the structure behind these elements by means of factor analysis. The factors derived
were interpreted in line with the theories by McCauley (2002). Also, researchers
verified predictions about variables that shape the perception at individual level:
Social Dominance Orientation (Pratto et al., 1994) and Right Wing Authoritarianism
(Altemeyer, 1996). It turned out that these individual characteristics do moderate the
content of terrorist images both taken individually and by means of an interaction.
Threat of terrorism – psychological determinants and social consequences
Magorzata Kossowska and Tomasz Kubik (Poland)
The aims of the present research are twofold. First, we would like to describe psycho-
logical factors that have an impact on the feeling of a threat of terrorism. The second
purpose is to determine social and psychological consequences of a terrorism threat.
We propose to analyse the feeling of a terrorism threat within the framework of Risk
Perception Theory (Slovic, 2000), expanding this model by employing individual and
group factors. It is planned to focus on the description of individual variables, such as
values and individual differences regarding cognitive motivation along with their
relation to the strength of the perceived threat of terrorism. Furthermore, we find
cognitive representations of terrorism and a terrorist as well as ideological beliefs and
attitudes considerably important. Focusing on the consequences of a terrorism threat,
we assume that its individual and social perception will strengthen in-group identifi-
cation. Nevertheless, we expect that, in the case of individually perceived terror, it will
intensify patriotic attitudes, whereas a sense of public threat will generate nationalistic
feelings, conspiracy theories, prejudice and acceptance of rigorous solutions aimed at
limitation of privileges of other ethnic/national minorities or groups. Hence, the
consequences will vary; on the one hand we have the increase of human solidarity, and
on the other hand an emphasis on intergroup divisions and differences, in-group
favouritism and out-group derogation.
Identity theory and terrorist behaviour: applying identity theory to counter
Karl Roberts (UK)
Identity theory (e.g. Stryker & Burke, 2000) has recently been used as an explanation
for the aetiology and maintenance of terrorism (Arena & Arrigo, 2006). Identity
theory holds that an individual’s sense of ‘self’ is a composite of multiple different
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 139
identities, each determined by the different social roles an individual takes within their
social networks. This paper illustrates how this theory can be applied in designing
counterterrorism measures. Specifically it looks at how assessment of terrorist
suspects based upon the salience of particular identities and the importance of an
individual’s competing identities, might be useful in challenging commitment and
encouraging disengagement from terrorism.
The risk of a nuclear catastrophe
Francesco Calogero (Italy)
Professor Calogero will discuss mainly the possibility that a small subnational group
could destroy a city with a nuclear explosion – is this possible, or likely? What should
be done to decrease the probability that this happen – in the immediate future and in
the longer term? Then he will also discuss the prospect that the nuclear-weapon non-
proliferation regime unravels and many more states acquire nuclear weapons. How
serious is this danger for the future of our civilization? What should be done to
decrease this risk? And what about the risk that nuclear weapons may be used by the
states now possessing them?
Convenor: J. Martin Ramirez (Spain/United States)
Abbas Al-Hussaini (Iraq)
Adam Breasley (Australia)
Francesco Calogero (Italy)
Antonio Fernández-Rañada (Spain)
Arvind Kumar (India)
Robert Mtonga (Zambia)
Mark Suh (Korea)
Guillermo Velarde (Spain)
The Einstein–Russell Manifesto, launched by Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell on
July 9, 1955, gave birth to the Pugwash Movement. Fifty years ago, in July 1957, at
the onset of the Cold War, 22 of the world’s greatest nuclear scientists, from East and
West, gathered in a controversial and historic meeting in the village of Pugwash (Nova
Scotia, Canada), to discuss peace and to address the emerging threat of nuclear war.
They alerted the world to the dangers of nuclear weapons, and especially the newly
developed hydrogen bomb. It was the first meeting of the Nobel Prize-winning
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, inspired by the Einstein–Russell
Manifesto. Besides informing society about the dangers of nuclear and chemical
weapons, the Pugwash movement attaches considerable importance to ecological
questions and, what is most important for this CICA-STR Conference of Aggression
and Terrorism, focuses on the threat of international terrorism. The scientists who
participate in the Pugwash movement are of the opinion that, despite the shock of
the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, the tragedies in Madrid, Page 139 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
140 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
London and Beslan, and other acts of terrorism, the struggle against terrorism should
proceed strictly by the legal norms of both the international and national communities
– ensuring that all human and civil rights are preserved. In the presence of highly
active international terrorism, the control of nuclear materials has become particularly
worrisome, because they can be used to make explosive devices, as Professor Calog-
ero and General Velarde, among others, will point out. Professor Fernánez Rañada,
Arvind Kumar and Martin Ramirez will inform the audience of the activities in vari-
ous international political centers, institutes and peacemaking organizations. Adam
Breasley will discuss the Young Pugwash, and Dr Suh the latest negotiations with
North Korea in order to obtain its denuclearization in exchange for more respect and
acceptance by the rest of the word. As an informal association of scientists from more
than 50 countries of the world, the Pugwash Movement systematically promotes not
only the reduction of the danger presented by the use of weapons of mass destruction
and the prevention of the escalation of international terrorism and regional conflicts,
but also the strengthening of trust between the political elites of different countries.
Convenor: Yael Danieli (United States)
Enrique Baca (Spain)
Louis Jehel (France)
Tali Levanon (Israel)
Ruth Pat-Horenczyk (Israel)
Danilo Turk (Slovenia)
This multidisciplinary symposium will review, discuss and analyze findings on the
effects of terrorism attacks on individuals, their societies, communities and politics as
they interact with their various cultural and religious dimensions. It will first present
research findings from France, Israel, the United States and Spain, in different age
groups (e.g. children an adults) and contexts (e.g. towns, cities, hospitals and schools).
Presenters will also describe various community-based programs developed in various
countries to help victims of the trauma of terrorism, including programs whose focus
is prevention. It will then also examine the international community’s responses from
the point of view of instruments and mechanisms developed and actions taken at the
United Nations.
Newspaper language and the experience of terror: a cross-cultural understanding
Tolya A. Stoitsova (Bulgaria) and Anne Snellen (United States)
We are developing a methodology for understanding the media response to terrorism
across cultures by posing the question: how are different cultures making sense of
terrorism through newspaper editorials? As models, we analyzed newspaper editorials
reflecting the 9/11 terrorist attacks in four different cultures, comparing The New York Page 140 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 141
Times (United States), The Times (UK), Sega (Bulgaria) and Izvestiya (Russia). The
major sources of information included in our methodology are: (1) the number and
pattern of the editorials relating to the attack; (2) the rhetorical style of editorials;
(3) the nature of historical references; (4) the specific, salient figures of speech; and
(5) the overall themes emerging from the period of editorial reflection. Findings
suggest that newspapers frame their response to terror based on culturally specific
references designed to draw analogical and thematic comparisons to previous events
having similar impacts on the culture.
Fighting for a homeland … reconstructing narratives of the ‘terrorists’
Urmitapa Dutta (United States)
Organized violence labeled as ‘terrorism’ by the state is one of the major crises faced
by the northeastern region of India. This paper is based on a study attempting to
deconstruct the official discourse around ‘terrorism’ while reconstructing the obliter-
ated narratives of the people labeled as ‘terrorists’. The participants were youths aged
17–23, on trial for their affiliation to a group identified as a ‘terrorist’ organization by
the state. The study revealed how these youths negotiate an identity in the face of
multiples social realities – their complicity in perpetrating communal violence and the
state’s labeling of that violence as ‘terrorism’; it is an intransigent history of difference
dividing tribal and non-tribal communities. The implications of these findings for
intervening in the cycle of repetitive violence are discussed. The possibility of dialec-
tical movements between the expositions of local struggles with contextual specificity
and forming conceptual links with similarly situated communities globally is also
Symbolic action and reaction facing terrorism: political violence and criminal law
Manuel Cancio-Meliá (Spain)
The guideline which drives today’s crime policy debate lies in the tension between
legal guarantees and effectiveness. It has been stated in contemporary criminal law
theory that the solution to such a tension comes from a necessary relation between
democracy and security. Probably terrorism is the area where the de facto police
prevention and the discourse on legislation policy (security issues) are at the same
time apparently common sense-based and, on the other hand, too generalizing
and characterized by an important lack of self-reflection on a constitutional level.
Therefore it is especially important for criminal law theory efforts to comprehend
the empirical issues which modern forms of terrorist behaviour present, in order to
reflect the empirical “environment” of the concrete criminal law reaction against
terrorist acts.
Democratization as an incendiary process: less flammable meta-approaches to
policy and praxis
Sara Nora Ross (United States)
Experience demonstrates that efforts to build new democracies fail to reach their
objectives, just as the “war on terror” has failed. Paradoxically, efforts to eliminate
terrorism and efforts to spread peace through democracy risk being among the most Page 141 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
142 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
incendiary processes worldwide. To change these patterns, two sets of applied under-
standings are essential. One encompasses (1) different assumptions about democracy
and terrorism, (2) requisites for democratization processes, (3) the perennial clientelist
structures, (4) political economies of corruption, (5) basic human needs and (6) violent
activities. Another encompasses developmental understandings of individuals, groups,
their transactions and their institutions. Selected international examples are provided.
The second part of the paper discusses applications on the ground of more process-
oriented meta-approaches to change existing patterns. These are proposed to not only
impede unrealistic expectations and reactionary behaviors and violence, but also build
more non-flammable socio-political foundations. The conclusion posits, that when
democratization-related policy and practice employ such meta-approaches, they are
more likely to be comprehensive enough to reduce social disruption and violence.
Police interviews with Islamic extremists, investigative interviewing or
Karl Roberts (United States)
This paper reviews work that has examined various law enforcement approaches to
interviewing Islamist extremists. Traditionally interrogative methods have been the
preferred tactic in which little attempt has been made to form rapport with the suspect
and in which threats and fear form a strong element. This paper critically evaluates
such approaches and makes suggestions about improved methods. In particular it
stresses the importance of rapport-based interviews and the value of an understanding
of the cultural history and expectations of the suspect in maximizing information
obtained during an interview.
Iraqonics: positing media iconics and semiotics as weapons on Western
Steven John Thompson (United States)
This research analyzes media from two news campaigns coming out of the War with
Iraq during the Summer of 2004. The first campaign contains iconic imagery from the
abduction of American Paul Johnson, killed by Muslim extremists in Saudi Arabia.
The second campaign contains video from the torture by American soldiers of prison-
ers at Abu Ghraib Prison. These are cross-mediated messages that have since been
pushed into the global news archives, though they are highly emblematic constructs
that actually have a profound effect on a struggle for power, voice and knowledge. In
each of these related, though situationally opposed, media disclosures, helpless
captives in the panopticon yield to the control of their merciless disciplinarians as they
wield their weaponry under the ever-watchful eye of the digital camera, all before a
potential audience of millions of seemingly helpless viewers.
Interaction between politics and terrorism in Iraq
Abbas Al-Hussaini (Iraq)
Currently Iraq is in chaos and its future stability is uncertain. There are many reasons
for this state of confusion and disorder; however one of the most important elements Page 142 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 143
which made this situation happen is the continuous and sustained acts of terrorism and
violence. In order to explain the situation we need to answer a few questions: Why is
there so much killing? Who is behind the terrorist activities? Why has the terrorism
succeeded, so far, in Iraq? Is it civil war? If not, what is it? Terrorist activities are daily
occurrences and are regarded as a natural consequence of the fragmented political
parties forming the government. Al-Qaeda, former regime elements (the so-called
“nationalist” insurgents), death squads, renegade police and criminal gangs are the
main executers of these activities, but there are others who belong to groups associated
directly or indirectly with functions that have representatives in the parliament or with
political parties forming the government. In Iraq, politics and terrorism are closely
related and often some form of violence is used to score political gains. I will try to
discuss a few points regarding the current situation in Iraq with particular attention to
the interaction between politics and the terrorism/violence. I will try to explain how
political parties helped directly or indirectly in the evolution of terrorism in Iraq.
Who justifies extreme violence and proactive aggression use? Implications for
understanding the terrorist’s personality
Lucyna A. Kirwil (Poland)
The paper proposes to analyze the terrorist’s personality from a “syndrome” perspec-
tive. Psychological profiles for people ready to aggress proactively and justify
extreme forms of violence (cruelty, torture) have been found for young people from
college student populations and populations exposed to aggression in their everyday
jobs in Poland. The profiles include characteristics on cognitive and emotional func-
tioning related to aggression, physiological–emotional arousal in response to violent
stimuli, attitudes towards extreme violence, primary and secondary psychopathy,
anxiety trait, anger trait, hostility and normative beliefs about aggression, and experi-
ence with aggression in life. It has been found that crucial characteristics for justifying
extreme violence use are: low emotional arousal and low intensity of negative
emotions in response to emotional stimuli, low empathy, readiness to use aggressive
cognitions, readiness to identify with aggressive characters, and experience with being
a victim of violence (in the life perspective).
Reactions to terrorism: the psychology of American perceptions and the
influence of highly publicized incidents of other forms of violence
James N. Breckenridge and Philip Zimbardo (United States)
This paper explores the results of a continuing longitudinal survey, beginning five
years after September 11, 2001, of 1200 American adults’ reactions to the threat of
terrorism and other violent events. We examine relationships among the public’s
terrorism threat appraisals and emotional and other psychological factors. Fear, anger,
guilt and sadness are found to have markedly different effects on perceptions of short-
and long-term likelihood of terrorist attack, as well as on perceptions of risk to the
nation vs risk to individuals personally. Each emotional response has differential
influence on support for government policy and for acceptance of counterterrorism-
motivated restrictions on civil liberties. In addition, we surveyed immediate local and
national responses to the April 2007 Virginia Tech college killings and demonstrate Page 143 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
144 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
that psychological distress, amplified by intense media attention, exacerbates the
public’s terrorism-related threat perceptions and significantly undermines their confi-
dence in government institutions, even when perceptions prior to the killings are taken
into account.
Applying the social science of aggression to understanding and improving
Muslim/non-Muslim relations in Western Europe
Jeff Victoroff (United States)
Evolutionary psychology and social neuroscience have advanced the understanding of
both the ultimate roots and cerebral mechanisms of intergroup enmity. Sixty years of
empirical social psychology research has provided vital insights into what works to
overcome the natural tendency toward intergroup conflict. Yet the main focus of coun-
terterrorism initiatives has been to capture, kill or prosecute committed terrorists, rather
than to (1) investigate potentially modifiable social factors in the genesis of terrorism
or (2) test the efficacy of scientifically plausible anti-radicalization interventions. This
presentation will review preliminary evidence that terrible Muslim/non-Muslim
relations in Western Europe represent a modifiable cause of violent jihad. A specific
research program will be proposed, integrating the social sciences of aggression and
intergroup relations to design and test promising interventions to improve intergroup
relations, enhance a sense of shared humanity, and measurably decrease the risk of
radicalization between adolescence and adulthood.
Causation of fear, powerlessness, aggression and terrorism
Leo Regeer (the Netherlands)
This presentation, based on the case known worldwide, “Theo van Gogh” (2004), will
explore the causation of violence and terrorism in a new perspective. In 1993 I started
with the development of a concrete definition framework to be used in daily practice.
For the development of the framework for the definition of terms, a distinction was
made between emotion and behavior. Then a list was made with behavioral diagnoses
and their defining characteristics. This list was validated according to present rules.
To make science work effective in daily practice the RADAR Method as by Regeer®
(the classification) was developed in 1996. RADAR means registration, aggression,
diagnosis, analysis, risks. Assertively and aggression areas were distinguished induc-
tively and divided into four levels. A cluster of interventions accompanied each level.
The RADAR as a classification may serve as the basis for answering questions
concerning what to do when confronted with aggression, violence and terrorism at
all levels.
Dialectical thinking and the resolution of international conflicts in China, Japan
and the United States
F. Dan Richard, Dong-yuan Debbie Wang and C. Dominik Güss (United States)
Previous research suggests that Easterners take a dialectical approach (accepting oppos-
ing perspectives) to an apparent contradiction whereas Westerners take an analytical
approach (polarizing differences between opposing perspectives and choosing one
side). Westerners may be less likely than Easterners, therefore, to find moderate Page 144 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 145
solutions to international conflict. When dealing with international conflict, similarities
of the conflict to previous historical events (e.g. the Second Sino-Japanese War) may
provoke extreme responses consistent with cultural and historical experiences. A total
of 564 citizens in China, Japan and the United States completed surveys related to
contradiction and conflict. Although people in China and Japan are considered East
Asians, the differences in responses between people in China and Japan to proverbs
(dialectical and analytical) and to a social conflict were larger than the differences
between citizens in Japan and the United States. When dealing with an international
conflict, people from all countries preferred moderate rather than extreme solutions.
More than a resource: property as a socially recognized symbol of group identity
Alison Ledgerwood (United States)
Regions such as Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia and Kashmir seem to lurk behind countless
conflicts and terrorist acts, but what motivates intergroup violence and aggression
over land and other forms of property? The present perspective conceptualizes group
identity as a goal toward which group members strive using property symbols that are
publicly linked to that identity. Four studies investigated whether property derives
value from its capacity to serve as an effective means in pursuing group identity goals.
The results demonstrate that the value placed on group-owned property depends on
the situational importance of identity and on the extent to which the symbol can be
used to publicly represent in-group identity. Property value is therefore inflated when
group identity needs are exacerbated (e.g. in situations of identity threat), when the
property is linked to group history, and when this link is widely acknowledged. Impli-
cations for intergroup conflict, terrorism and aggression are discussed.
A critical appraisal of terrorist profiling
Shahid Bux (Scotland, UK)
Profiling is one of the most alluring but readily misconstrued approaches to under-
standing terrorists. Attempts at developing a profile of the ‘typical’ terrorist have had
varied success and the assumption that there exists such a profile has not been verified.
This paper critically assesses the nature and limitations of approaches presently used
before proceeding to identify alternatives to present overtures of terrorist profiling.
Existing approaches based on demographics, physical characteristics and personality
traits fail to account for the heterogeneity of terrorists. This paper argues for an alter-
native to terrorist profiling that takes into account the social processes and group
contexts that terrorists are exposed to. While shifting focus from characteristics to
processes may not be consistent with most conventional approaches to profiling, it
may offer a more useful means of appreciating the complexity associated with how
and why people become terrorists. The benefits of this shift will be discussed.
A new risk assessment for terrorist suspects
Steven J. Stein (United States)
Much of the descriptive research on successful and unsuccessful Islamic terrorists has
focused on demographic and psychological factors that include social economic status,
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146 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
(Kruegar & Maleckova, 2002) education (Sageman, 2004) and mental health (Hassan,
2001; Merari, 2005). However, there have been numerous links between terror suspects
and criminal activity (TRAC report). Profiling religious terror suspects has been chal-
lenging due to restrictions on the use of racial, religious and cultural variables. One of
the most significant contributions psychology has made to the criminal justice system
has been the work of Dr Robert Hare. He pioneered the identification and consequences
of psychopathic behavior among forensic, offender and community populations. His
most well-known instrument, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), is
regarded as the gold standard in forensic psychology and psychiatry (Hare, 1998). The
PCL-R and its derivatives are powerful predictors of recidivism and violence on their
own or as parts of other tools for risk assessment (Hare & Hugues, 2001). These tools
are behavior-based and avoid racial and ethnic stereotyping. Recently Hare, together
with Herve, developed a tool called the P-SCAN, which consists of a rating scale that
can be completed on suspects or other target individuals by non-professionals who
know the individual well (Hare & Herve, 2001). Data has been collected with this tool
on community samples, probationers and incarcerated offenders. Rather than a diag-
nostic assessment, the P-SCAN provides possible hypotheses about an individual’s
behaviors and their likely risk. In the present investigation P-SCAN data was collected
from a former Palestinian terrorist (who has renounced terrorism and cooperates with
authorities) and a still active member of a Palestinian terror group operating in the
United States. Their case data is compared with normative and correctional samples.
Implications for data collection and analysis on terror suspects are discussed.
Forgetting, emotion, and trauma: socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting
Adam D. Brown, Alin Coman and William Hirst (United States)
Memories associated with witnessing or surviving a traumatic event, such as a terror-
ist attack, are believed to possess distinctive characteristics. A number of studies
have reported that individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often forget
aspects of their trauma, leading to memories that have been characterized as frag-
mentary. This forgetting is often accounted for by problems that occur at the time of
encoding. However, can listening to others speak (e.g. media sources, clinicians) also
induce forgetting? By expanding retrieval-induced-forgetting (RIF) to social interac-
tions, Hirst and colleagues have recently demonstrated how RIF can be applied to
social interactions, a phenomenon they coined socially shared retrieval-induced
forgetting. This talk will discuss how ocially shared retrieval-induced forgetting may
provide an important framework for understanding how conversations after a terrorist
attack may contribute to the fragmented memories associated with PTSD. Results
from work with individuals exposed to 9/11 and U.S. combat veterans with PTSD
will be discussed.
Participating in suicide missions: comparative study of motivation of successful
and unsuccessful Chechen female bombers
Tatyana Dronzina (Bulgaria)
This is a comparative study of motivation for participation in suicide missions of six
unsuccessful and 29 successful Chechen female bombers. In general it is a quantitative
one carried out using mainly life story and life history, and psychological autopsy Page 146 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 147
research methods. The main hypothesis is that female suicide choice, apart from being
impacted by several factors in the environment, has a great deal to do with identity
formation and identity crisis processes. As the impact of demographic factors on the
decision is well documented, here the author tries to identify the weight of the next set
of variables on the suicide choice: “losses” (caused by the war); “other trauma” (both
caused and not caused by the war); and “sins” understood as acts unacceptable or
intolerable by local community and wider society. The conclusion is that, in the
Chechen case, female decisions to participate in suicide missions can be seen as a
result of identity crisis caused by dissolution of the traditionally established gender
roles system rather than by the impact of this system per se.
Women as a suicide bombers
Mariya Sapundzhieva and Radi Ganev (Bulgaria)
This report is a historical and facts review of women in suicide attacks. These are
female bombers, to whom nature gives a basic role not to take a way life, but to give
life. It analyzes the metamorphosis of the religious fundamentalists and terrorist lead-
ers concerning women’s participation in suicide attempts, the profile of women
suicide bombers in the different countries and their recruitment and training. The
report prognosticates development of suicide attacks and the means of their limitation.
Terrorism, rhetoric and the imperial U.S. presidency
Marie D. Natoli (United States)
This paper will present an analysis of the terrorist rhetoric of President George W. Bush
both prior to and following the events of September 11, 2001. The analysis will explore
the correlation between presidential rhetoric and U.S. public opinion in support of both
the “war” against terrorism and the subsequent rationale for extending war to Iraq.
Cultural influences on conflict resolution: a study of Eastern and Western logics
Kristen Foster, Brandon Brace, Jonathan Hawkins, Rebecca Whitcomb, The Beyond
War Research Group, F. Dan Richard and Dong-Yuan Debbie Wang (United States)
Previous research suggests that Daoism and Confucianism have shaped the Eastern
mindset whereas Aristotelian logic and the scientific method have shaped the Western
mindset. Although Easterners are viewed as having greater mental flexibility, other
research has shown that people with higher levels of education are more flexible in
their thinking. This study examines nationality and education level on decision-making
and willingness to compromise. A total of 564 participants from general populations
of Japan, China and the United States completed a survey measuring non-dialectical
and dialectical thinking by means of proverb preference, a mother–daughter conflict
scenario and an international crisis scenario. Surprisingly, Chinese participants favored
non-dialectical proverbs and participants in the United States preferred dialectical prov-
erbs. Participants in all countries with higher education levels preferred moderate rather
than extreme solutions to social and international conflicts. Differences between Japan
and China in decision-making are highlighted. Page 147 Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:01 PM
148 J.M. Ramirez and T.K. Walters
Religion and support for suicide attacks
Ian Hansen and Jeremy Ginges (United States)
Suicide attacks occur when people simultaneously kill themselves and members of
adversary groups. In recent years, organizations motivated by a fusion of religious and
political goals have been primarily responsible for a dramatic increase in the
frequency of suicide attacks carried out worldwide. While the correlation between
religion and suicide attacks is a topic of frequent conjecture, scientific study of the
relationship is rare. In four studies carried out across different cultural, religious and
political contexts I empirically investigated the association between religion and
popular support for suicide attacks. Here I show that devotion to a specific religious
belief system, as indexed by frequency of prayer to God, is unrelated to support for
suicide attacks. Instead it appears that frequent participation in collective religious
services, common to most known religions and related to, but distinct from, religious
devotion, may promote support for suicide attacks.
Does government building fail and terrorism result when developmental stages
of governance and economics are skipped?
Michael Lamport Commons and Eric Andrew Goodheart (United States)
Countries and cultures must move through each of the stages of development sequen-
tially. Each stage must be achieved, and attempts to jump stages will fail. While the
United States is great at winning small wars such as those against Afghanistan,
Grenada, Iraq, Panama, etc., it fails at making and maintaining peace. This paper will
address the reasons why and what can be done instead of our present hit or miss
policies. We will address some stages of the tasks of governing. We will also address
some of the means by which government activities move up in stages. This will
address reasons why the United States has had its various successes and failures, and
why governments in general operate at increasingly higher stages.
Terminology of aggression in Islam
Zohreh Musazadeh and Khadijeh Abolmaali (Iran)
This essay has made an effort to review the Islamic definition of aggression and also
to offer a solution for this powerful natural faculty. From an Islamic view point, anger
is one of the natural faculties (talents) in human beings, which cannot be eradicated
but can be controlled (Imam Khomeini, 1992). Different kinds of aggressive behaviors
have been rejected in Islam. These behaviors include revenge, enmity, hatred, cruelty,
dispute, gossiping, making fun of someone (taunting), teasing, physical injury and
homicide (Qumy, 1991; Shobbar, 1995). Considering the current psychological
literature and Islamic definitions of aggression, teasing, gossiping, making fun of
someone, making insults and causing disputes are categorized as relational types of
aggression. These have been firmly forbidden in Islam. Relational aggression includes
threatening or harming social relationships. Hostile intention is included in all of the
above issues. These issues can be explicit/implicit or verbal/nonverbal (Ramirez,
2003, Human aggression: A multifaceted phenomenon, Centreur; Santrock, 2004,
Educational psychology, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill). Also, according to Islamic and
psychological definitions, enmity, hatred, revenge and cruelty are kinds of hostile
aggression in which the person is seeking to harm and upset other people. Enmity and
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 149
hatred are kinds of explicit and hostile aggression that are accompanied by verbal and
physical threats. Revenge is also a reactive and defensive aggression. Cruelty is an
explicit, indirect and offensive aggression that is firmly forbidden in Islam. Preventive
solutions at the primary, secondary and third levels concerning aggression have been
mentioned in Islam.
Electronic monitoring as way of control and prevention of aggression
Pilar Otero (Spain)
It has been said that criminal law is violence not only because of what it punishes, but
also because of the way it does it. Violence is present in all human relationships, and
as such, it is consubstantial to every system of social control. In spite of this, the failure
of imprisonment has not been its severity, but its inefficiency regarding social reha-
bilitation. This lack of efficiency can be palliated through the use of alternative systems
of electronic surveillance in the penitentiary context. These alternative systems will not
only enable an effective solution to the problem of overcrowded prisons, but will also
mitigate the harmful effects of prison. Moreover, these alternative systems represent
a good method to prevent future aggression as well as to facilitate the offender’s social
rehabilitation. From this point of view, we will first explain the programs of electronic
surveillance in Spain and second we will evaluate them in terms of social rehabilita-
tion, cost–benefit analysis, human rights restrictions, privatization and overcrowding
in prisons.
From terror to tolerance
Kinga Agnes Williams (UK)
Various cultures create their worldviews by construing reality in particular ways while
rendering alternative worldviews threatening. At times of danger (e.g. war, terrorism),
worldviews with a clear vision of an orderly world-structure (e.g. fundamentalism,
communism) become increasingly attractive (Salzman, 2006). It is suggested that their
appeal is due to their simplicity. The socio-cognitive simplifications involved are as
powerful as they are dangerous. Given that the present cultural–political climate is
clearly the product of the above process, mindfulness of its workings is imperative.
The poster gives an overview of two potential possibilities of global psychological
management of cultural diversity. One route is a negative feedback-loop, resulting in
increased other-culture intolerance – the other is pointing forwards, towards greater
other-culture tolerance. The poster maps out the connections among existential anxi-
ety, culture-distance, culture-shock, constitutive and regulative rules, cognitive errors,
terror management strategies, cutlure learning and intercultural dialogue, as well as
the relevant theories and hypotheses. These are: terror management theory (i.e. culture
buffers against mortality awareness, e.g. Greenberg et al., 1997); mortality salience
hypothesis (i.e. mortality salience increases other-culture intolerance, e.g. Rosenblatt
et al., 1989); reverse mortality salience hypothesis (i.e. other-culture intolerance
increases mortality salience, e.g. Williams, 2004); and the rule-category substitution
fallacy (i.e. the tendency to overestimate the proportion of constitutive rules while
underestimating the incidence of regulative rules, e.g.Williams 2005).
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La agresividad se concibe generalmente como una manifestación o un comportamiento que tiene la intención de provocar algún tipo de daño o aflicción a un tercero. La conducta violenta es un acontecimiento que incide bruscamente en el bienestar de la generalidad y, consiguientemente, en el rechazo y la alarma social, por lo que los investigadores buscan los medios para su comprensión, y las autoridades formales, para su contención. La violencia, en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones, genera preocupación en los diversos contextos; incluso, en los que se encuentran ligados a la seguridad y defensa, donde aparentemente participa activamente, por hacerlo en entornos hostiles, donde la cuestión de la violencia y la agresión es entendida como el uso de la fuerza sobre personas o grupos para forzarlos a comportarse de un modo no deseado. Este trabajo busca señalar las condiciones en las que se engendra la violencia (estructural, personal o conductual), y en qué lugares es más intensa, con base en una perspectiva cualitativa, con un enfoque analítico-reflexivo y de manera descriptiva, para analizar posibles puntos de interés estratégico, a fin de fortalecer la seguridad, para, por ejemplo, aplicarlas a estrategias efectivas de paz. Para este análisis, se observa a grandes rasgos el caso colombiano, donde se enfatiza en la violencia estructural a partir de su análisis.
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