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Mind of a Terrorist Dr. Stephen Link Professor of Psychology Brookhaven College

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1 Mind of a Terrorist Dr. Stephen Link Professor of Psychology Brookhaven College slink@dcccd.edu

2 Social Sciences Refers to the academic disciplines concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. AnthropologyPolitical Science Geography Psychology HistoryReligion PhilosophySociology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science

3 PSYCHOLOGY COURSES PSYC 2301 General Psychology Survey of major topics in psychology. Introduces the study of behavior and the factors that determine and affect behavior. PSYC 2302 Applied Psychology Survey of the applications of psychological knowledge and methods in such fields as business, industry, education, medicine, law enforcement, social work, and government work. PSYC 2306 Human Sexuality Study of the psychological, sociological, and physiological aspects of human sexuality. PSYC 2314 Lifespan Growth & Development Study of the relationship of the physical, emotional, social and mental factors of growth and development of children and throughout the lifespan. PSYC 2315 Psychology of Adjustment Study of the processes involved in adjustment of individuals to their personal and social environments. PSYC 2316 Psychology of Personality Study of various approaches to determinants, development, and assessment of personality.

4 Lecture Objectives Define Terrorism Discuss the Importance of Changing Perception Describe the Process of Terrorist Mind Development

5 Questions for You How can someone be persuaded to kill others? Can this perceptual persuasion happen to me or some one close to me? Does the process of perceptual conversion happen in other groups? What policies could be developed to deter the development of terrorists?

6 Terrorism FBI Definition There is no single, universally accepted, definition of terrorism. Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

7 Can someone be persuaded to kill others? 1.Strongly Agree 2.Agree 3.Neutral 4.Disagree 5.Strongly Disagree 0 of 132

8 It is all about PERCEPTION How do we know what is true and real?

9 What do you Perceive?

10 What do you perceive?

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12 Perception is based on BioPsychoSocial Interactions Brain Formations Conditioned Thinking Environmental Influences

13 Terrorist or Freedom Fighter The oft-repeated statement 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter' reflects genuine doubts about what constitutes 'terrorism'.

14 Social Cognition All people operate on their own internal map of reality, not on reality itself.

15 Perceptual Dualism Suicidal Bombers Crazed Sociopaths Terrorists Martyrs Holy Warriors Freedom Fighters

16 Social Cognition What is Real/True? Suicide Feel hopelessness and depression. End intense and unbearable pain. Others consider suicide undesirable. Others attempt to discourage behavior and feel guilt and shame if it occurs. Martyrdom Feel hopefulness about afterlife. Further the cause …a heroic sacrifice. Others consider the act as heroic. Others encourage the behavior for family pride and give social and financial support.

17 You can drastically change some one’s perception. 1.Strongly Agree 2.Agree 3.Neutral 4.Disagree 5.Strongly Disagree 0 of 132

18 How can a person change their perception so drastically?

19 OKC Bombing Timothy McVeigh

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26 CNN Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cheK2- 2wcdw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cheK2- 2wcdw

27 Process of Terrorist Mind Development Perceived Unfairness Perceived Options to Fight Unfair Treatment Seeking Others Recruitment/Perceptual Persuasion Conversion/Commitment to the Organization Mission of Martyrdom

28 Perceived Unfairness Poverty and lack of education are problematic but not predicative. Perceived injustice and the feeling of frustration and shame. Perceived personal deprivation. Fraternal deprivation other societies have reached this goal we have not.

29 Frustration Syriana Clip 1 Pakistani migrant workers Saleem Ahmed Khan and his son Wasim board a bus to go to work at a Connex refinery, only to discover that they have been laid off due to a Chinese company outbidding Connex for the rights to run the facility. Since the company has provided food and lodging, the workers face the threat of poverty and deportation due to their unemployed status. Wasim desperately searches for work but is refused because he doesn't speak Arabic.

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31 Key Elements to Fight Unfair Treatment Plato warned of the inevitable collapse of any society if it does not allow the rise of talented individuals in the social hierarchy and conversely the downward mobility of the less talented who are born to those in power. Equity principal important I can get ahead and efforts will be rewarded. No options ! Emotions build.

32 Do you feel that you have an opportunity to change your life? 1.Strongly Agree 2.Agree 3.Neutral 4.Disagree 5.Strongly Disagree 0 of 132

33 Key Element Emotional Reaction which Decreases/Overrides Logic/Critical Thinking Easier to Manipulate/Persuade

34 Seeking Others In times of Distress we Affiliate Solace and comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Same values and views. You are one of us. Psychological/emotional connections are met. Great empathy and sympathy given. Blame injustice on targeted group. Can be done in person or via the internet. Make an emotional connection with a soon to be mentor/group.

35 Perceived Unfairness Fairness matters the most. I cannot achieve what the media presents of affluent and democratic lifestyles.

36 Reactions to Perceived Unfair Treatment Lack of Empowerment Feelings of Helplessness Feelings of Hopelessness Anger Blame Others

37 Syriana Seeking Others clip 2 A very frustrated Wasim and his friends join an Islamic school for food and learn Arabic, in order to improve their employment prospects.

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39 Recruitment Perceptual Persuasion Groups offer answers by supplying continual righteous information. Development of US vs. Them Attitude. Labeling Persuaded to be committed to the morality of the group. Develop a parallel life… keep this a secret. Isolation, affiliation, secrecy and fear. Feel powerful hope and have a sense of purpose. Powerful Charismatic Figure Appears.

40 Mentor Syriana clip 3 While playing soccer, they meet a charismatic Islamic fundamentalist cleric

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45 Commitment to the Organization Perceptual Conversion Usually end parallel life. “Live” the organization to be trained. All information is tightly controlled. Constant bombardment of 24 hours of social categorization. Terrorists act in a prosocial manner, both believing themselves to be serving society and judged by their in-group to be acting in its interest. Groups use Social Conformity, Social Obedience and Confirmation Basis

46 Social Conformity Social Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure. http://www.simplypsychology.org/obedience.html

47 Social Obedience Obedience is a form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from another individual. This person is perceived as an authority figure. http://www.simplypsychology.org/obedience.html Enthusiastically identify with the groups leader or agenda.

48 Confirmation Bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions. The label becomes truth regardless of reality.

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50 Commitment to the Organization Reduction of Inhibitory Mechanisms. Social Categorization: Those people. Civilians acts of violence are justified because they are the enemy. Development of emotional anchors – hypnotic suggestions. Drugs? No opportunity to leave alive. Strong Emotional Reactions Hopefulness/Angry Leads to

51 Righteousness

52 is a feeling or way of life that is all about doing the right thing. Distorted Perception

53 Does the process of terrorist (perceptual) conversion happen in other groups?

54 Does the process of perceptual conversion happen in other groups? 1.Cults 2.Military 3.Social Groups 4.Sports 5.Organized Religion 6.Politics 7.Abusive Relationship 8.Dysfunctional Families 9.All of the above 10.Other 0 of 132

55 Factors Leading to Action Modern weaponry decreases personal contact. Psychological distancing using terrorist myths do not provide a spark to get people to recognize their actions. Victims are not aware of attack and cannot induce inhibitory mechanism. Contact person reinforces perception. Use anchors such as icons, visualizations, emotional feelings.

56 Action: Emotional Context Angry Becomes Hatred Blinding

57 Revenge Never Ending

58 I am not a Terrorist I am a Freedom Martyr

59 Action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMs2FYd HSrg martyrdom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMs2FYd HSrg

60 The Process of Ideological Development It’s Not Right It’s Not Fair It’s Your Fault You’re Evil Borum, David. (2003) Understanding the Terrorist Mind-Set. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 2003, 7-10. Let’s Get THEM

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62 What can be done to deter the development of terrorists?

63 Short Term Policy Implications Defensive - Increased Security Offensive - Military and Cyber attacks. Use of Social Media and Global Media to Change Perception International Aid Program Support Democratic Processes - Equality

64 Long Term Policy Implications Reduction of Inequality Equal Participation Awareness Education of Us- Them Mentality Justice Promoted Interobjectivity understanding shared within and between cultures

65 Salient Elements to Eliminate Perceptual Persuasion Be Educated Stay Aware Emote and Release Emotional Energy Maintain Hope Motivate Yourself Think Critically

66 References Atran, S. (2003, March 7). Genesis of suicide terrorism. Science, 299, 1534–1539. Bandura, A. (2004). The role of selective moral disengagement in terrorism and counterterrorism. In F. M. Moghaddam & A. J. Marsella (Eds.), Understanding terrorism: Psychosocial roots, causes, and consequences (pp. 121–150). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

67 References Borum, David. (2003) Understanding the Terrorist Mind-Set. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 2003, 7-10. Moghaddam, F. M. (2005). The Staircase to Terrorism. A Psychological Exploration American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 2, 161– 169.

68 Questions Stephen Link Ph.D. slink@dcccd.edu

69 Brief History of Terrorism in the United States 1978-1995—The Unabomber 1993—The First World Trade Center Bombing 1995—Oklahoma City Bombing 1996— Centennial Olympic Park Bombing 2001—9/11 2001—The Shoe Bomber 2001—Anthrax Attacks 2002—The Beltway Sniper 2006—SUV Attack at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 2009—NYC Subway Bomb Plot 2009—Fort Hood Shooting 2009—Little Rock Recruiting Office Shooting 2009—Underwear Bombing Attempt 2010—Times Square Bombing Attempt 2013—Boston Marathon http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/a-brief-history-of-terrorism-in- the-united-states-20130416

70 Research Findings on Elements of Terrorist Wants change of some kind but feel powerless to have effect or impact. Feel alienated, disenfranchised or angry. Feel a need to take action when talking becomes ineffective or no one listens. Believe that their efforts are not immoral. Has family or friends sympathetic to a shared cause. Feels that joining a movement or acting alone empowers them bringing psychological rewards, adventure, a heightened sense of identity and perhaps camaraderie. Some actually believe a violent act may attract positive attention to their cause. Lone wolves and large groups both feel a need to strike out if they perceive their lifestyle or culture is in jeopardy. Revenge is a popular criterion for terrorist violence. In almost all cases, lone wolves are male. Lone wolves are known to be lonely people who want to be heard. Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness- positive-psychology/2013/apr/18/inside-mind-terrorist-where-do-they-come/#ixzz2dHcBj9RAhttp://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness- positive-psychology/2013/apr/18/inside-mind-terrorist-where-do-they-come/#ixzz2dHcBj9RA

71 History of Terrorism The history of terrorism dates back at least 1500 years when Jewish resistance groups (66 - 72 A.D.) known as Zealots killed Roman soldiers and destroyed Roman property. The term assassin comes from a Shi'ite Muslim sect (Nizari Isma'ilis - also known as hashashins "hashish-eaters") fighting Sunni Muslims (1090 - 1275) and during Medieval Christendom resisting occupation during the Crusades (1095-1291). The hashashins were known to spread terror in the form of murder, including women and children. The brotherhood of Assassins committed terror so as to gain paradise and seventy-two virgins if killed and to receive unlimited hashish while on earth. The modern development of terrorism began during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror (1793 - 1794). During this period the term terrorism was first coined.

72 1920: Wall Street Bombing 30 people died, hundreds injured, destroyed Morgan Building

73 During a series of protests linked to the Sons of Liberty, colonists burn and sack the house of the Massachusetts lieutenant governor, Thomas Hutchinson.

74 Muslim Support of Osama bin Laden?

75 Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” [1][1]


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