"The Psychology of Terrorism" (Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources)
By: Clark R. McCauley
Source: Social Science Research Council: After September 11th Essay Archive.
About the Author: Clark R. McCauley, a professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, is the Director of the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania. He began studying terrorism in the 1980s, while he was a consultant for the Frank Guggenheim Foundation in New York. He joined the faculty of Bryn Mawr College in 1970.
It is Clark McCauley's opinion that "terrorists are neither crazy, nor suicidal. The vast majority, more than 90 percent, of all terrorists are perfectly normal, psychologically speaking." He assumes that individual citizens may be drawn to terrorist activities when they feel that a cherished group is threatened. When that occurs, average citizens may become so involved in the intensity of the small-group dynamics that their allegiance to the group supersedes their normal inhibitions against violence. In short, they may be willing to harm or kill others, or to be killed themselves, rather than risk...
(The entire section is 2381 words.)
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