Missing Developmental and Sociocultural Perspectives: Comment on the “Psychology of Terrorism” Special Issue (2017)

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Abstract

Two critical perspectives were missing from the special issue entitled “Psychology of Terrorism”: developmental and sociocultural. From a developmental point of view, the fact that most individuals who engage in terrorist groups or terroristic acts are young men is critically important. Perspectives from adolescent development, neuroscience, and social psychology can shed light on why this is the case. In addition, sociocultural perspectives are needed to answer important community-level questions, such as why some communities are more prone to having youth recruited for terrorism than others. From these perspectives, it is possible to see clearly how discrimination, social oppression, and victimization lead to negative developmental outcomes such as terrorist acts. Lastly, understanding individual and community level resilience against terrorism is necessary.

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