Considering the perspectives introduced in the course materials for the week, discuss the role of group psychological principles in providing rationalizations for terrorist behavior. Are these rationalizations valid explanations of the violent acts carried out; provide adequate details to substantiate the position you present.

Reading

  1. Moral Psychology of Terrorism (2013)

  2. Horgan, J. G. (2017). Psychology of terrorism: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 72(3), 199-204. doi:10.1037/amp0000148

Forum Assignment for the Week: 300 Words minimum This week’s discussion focus is “Group Psychology”. The study of group psychology is literally what its name suggests, the study of how groups intentionally or unintentionally influence individuals who are in the presence or members of groups. We cannot leave a course on the psychology of terrorism without examining this important area of research, because historically nothing has proven as powerful in shaping human behavior. We are group beings. We live, work and play with and among others. Although professional ethics won’t allow researchers to attempt to discern the influences that groups exert on human behavior by experimentally isolating individuals from the moment of birth and across their lifetimes, a number of landmark research efforts have given us insight into the reactions of individuals in group settings.
· Before participating in this week’s discussion, review Mina Cikara’s TEDx Talk When ‘I’ Becomes ‘We’
· http://www.tedxcambridge.com/talk/when-i-becomes-we/
Group living has been essential for our survival since the first humans walked the Earth. Beyond just surviving, people who accurately identify, value, and cooperate with in-group members enjoy numerous material and psychological benefits. However, group life is also a source of social strife and destruction. From Israelis and Palestinians to Red Sox and Yankees fans, group identity has led to innumerous conflicts. Much of the research into this intergroup conflict has focused on group members’ perceptions of the other. However, this focus neglects that when we become part of an “us,” we change as well. Recent evidence from psychology and neuroscience indicates that individuals acting on behalf of a group will often act more ruthlessly than individuals acting alone. Better understanding how we change when we shift from “me versus you” to “us versus them” may generate new avenues for interventions among individuals and groups in conflict (Cikara, 2014).
· Considering the perspectives introduced in the course materials for the week, discuss the role of group psychological principles in providing rationalizations for terrorist behavior. Are these rationalizations valid explanations of the violent acts carried out; provide adequate details to substantiate the position you present.
***Your post must also end with a “Question to the Class” – something related to the topic that you found thought-provoking and about which you’d like to know more and have further dialog. ***
General Instructions Applicable to All Forums:
enlightened Forum post source citation is not required for forum posting in our class. This is because we are engaging in conversation that happens to be in writing form, not composing essays or research papers. You will, however, need to paraphrase (restate in your own words) any words of published authors in parts of your posts that are based on their work. Copying of published material, which is plagiarism, is prohibited and any instances of it, including forum posts, will result in a zero score without an option for re-submission to recoup lost points and a report sent to the Registrar’s Office per University policy.
Discussion forum posts will be graded on verbal expression, critical thinking, making an effort to not just participate in but contribute to the dialog with initial and reply posts of a substantive nature commensurate with graduate level studies. Posts must have correct grammatical construction, spelling, and punctuation with no texting or other casual style language.