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Terrorism, Violence, and Hope for Peace: A Terror Management Perspective

Causes of radicalisationDe-radicalisationRadicalisation

Current Directions in Psychological ScienceJournal abstract

Terror management theory (TMT) is used to explore psychological forces that act to promote or discourage support for terrorism and violent counterterrorist policies. According to TMT, domination, humiliation, and perceived injustice threaten the self-esteem and cultural worldviews that protect people from death-related anxiety; the result may be hostility and violence directed against the threatening out-group as a way of defusing this threat. We review research documenting the role of terror management processes in promoting and discouraging support for terrorism and violent counterterrorist policies and discuss the implications of this research. The studies we review suggest that the same psychological forces that promote support for terrorist violence also promote support for aggressive counterterrorist policies and that these forces can be redirected to encourage support for more peaceful solutions on both sides of the current conflict between Islamic radical groups and Western nations.

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