Before participating in this week’s discussion, you must watch the following:
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.
How to stop ISIS’ recruitment methods. Inside the key components of the terrorist organization
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 can’t 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.
Once you have viewed these two videos, submit a post by Thursday that pulls together at least two common threads found across these videos and use them to articulate your understanding of possible origins of terrorists’ actions. NOTE: The sources aren’t intended to explain all terrorist motivations or choices. They illuminate, as have all our other readings to date, some elements of the psychology of terrorism. You job here is to tease from them common themes that inform our understanding of it.