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What Makes A Terrorist Essay

1032 words - 5 pages

The social aspect of terrorism goes very deep for the terrorist especially those in the middle-eastern countries. The social view addresses the in-group/out-group bias as well as the fundamental attribution error. The in-group/out-group bias refers to the tendency for individuals to identify themselves as a particular group, placing all others in opposing groups. In the case of terrorism, a trained terrorist may think they are good and righteous, but all others (including those that do not practice their cultural norms or religious expectations) are among the out-group. By defining themselves as an in -groups, it makes it easier for an individual to act out against those they consider a ...view middle of the document...

When enlisting in the military, many people are excited about the prospect of serving their country. The strenuous hours of exercise serve the purpose of breaking down the physical and emotional barriers of compliance. The goal of the military is to rebuild and reshape men into compliant soldiers. By stripping away their individuality, military reinforces compliant behavior by negatively reinforcement (example: removing the need to do more exercises once the trainer’s goal is reached).
Classic conditioning training is used to breakdown their the military person in boot camp with negative reinforcement to the build up through positive reinforcement and praise. Operating under the assumption that terrorists are just like normal people, it could be argued that terrorism is simply the result of being shaped by positive and negative reinforcement. In the case of warfare, people are reinforced to target or kill other individuals.
Taylor and Horgan (2006) believed that terrorism was a reciprocal relationship between many levels of society:

Another topic to be addressed is the cognitive approach to terrorism. Cognitive Affective Psychology “emphasizes the primacy of cognition in mediating psychological disorder. It aims to alleviate distress by modifying cognitive content and process, realigning thinking with reality” (Longmore & Worrell, 2009, p. 176).
Followers of the cognitive approach believe that people shape their actions by controlling how they think. It is their belief that thoughts affect feelings and behaviors. For example: You cry, because you think about sad feelings…not because your eyes started watering, which you then interpreted as being sad. In the realm of terrorism individuals think to categorize enemies as all bad. The continuous reinforcement of this belief (e.g.: being told that other people are bad, need to be killed, don’t follow the right religion, are corrupt, etc.) strengthens these automatic thoughts.
Sternberg (2003) states:
“Perhaps one of the most powerful forces (although certainly not the only force) underlying mass killings is hate, hate that is carefully nurtured and shaped to accomplish ends that are mindfully, plan-fully, and systematically conceived. Hate applies to whatever one calls the killings, from terrorism to...

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