Research Paper On The Psychology Of Terrorism

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Terrorism, Social Issues, Terrorist, Life, Family, Politics, Psychology, Terror

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/04

The understanding of terrorism is still undefined. Since the terror attacks of 9/11, it was unclear of how to define terrorism, but the purpose of terrorism is undoubtedly to cause fear. It leaves a whole country with agony and a poor sense of security, never feeling confident that they are completely safe as they go about their daily lives. Citizens have learned to live in fear and with much uncertainty, so the question seems to be, what is behind this psychological abuse or irrational behavior? What motivates terrorists to hate fellow human beings, sabotage lives, destroy hope, and do all without compassion? It seems that terrorists lives are driven by their hate and that they enjoy spreading fear and to plant seeds of terror in others.
In the last decades, the phenomenon of terrorism has been one of the worse new horrors that society, and all of humanity, has received. The ways that terrorist choose to act violently and the specific acts they commit vary but they all have the same factor; they are execute with extreme cruelty, no concern for innocence of others like women, children, and elderly, and leave nobody safe.
The history of terrorism begins with a clan called the Islamic Shii, which was extremely radical and was known for having many murderers in the decades XI. Research shows that the movements of terrorism of nowadays have changed along with time; instead they are new forces with different objectives. However, there was a clan called Hashshashin known as a mystic group who followed political assassination, they did this by “fedayin” which means a sacrifice, often to protect one’s people or homeland, following the same principle as modern terrorist who choose to sacrifice themselves such as suicide bombers (Ross, J, 2015).
The Shiiasm grew stronger and became the guardians of the community, and after time there was creation of a cult called Nizari, known as the new doctrine (Ross, J, 2015). Since then, their creed and faith has only grown and spread further across many countries, even outside the reach of the Middle East countries, and detonated louder and stronger. Hence, the question to answer is why becoming a fedayin in the name of Allah drives individuals to follow a cult and go against such empathy and compassion which traditionally are ideas and values promoted in the Quran?
Terrorist do not display deviant mental disorders, instead they are highly adaptive, conforming easily to stressful and harsh situations that would not be tolerable for individuals with mental or emotional disorders (Bartol, C & Bartol, A, 2009). The existence of terrorism as a social phenomenon as well as terrorists as individuals entails various components, for example political, psychological, and group dynamics. A political intention is the main intention, their goal is to take charge of issues they feel are unjust and surpass political issues through resistance, by instead taking their own measures outside of a political process, and this is carried out by coercive and violent attacks against noncombatant civilians. The elite part of the organization is that which plans accordingly to cause psychological terror, and coordinates and looks for clear objectives, audiences and target attacks to accomplish this aim. Continuing that revolution, . An important fact in terrorism is that their goal to affect a whole society, nation, or the global society entirely as opposed to individual victims. They target with the objective of creating a psychological unbalance for what they select. Terrorism stems at times from societies that are lenient and have little political and legal protections, but also some that have rigorous and repressive conducts as well.
Terrorists groups can be divide in hierarchical or network fashion. One of the most known extremists in a hierarchical group is Osama Bin Laden. He attended a Jeddah school and vigorously studied Muslim brotherhood and was taught that all Christians and Jews were enemies according to the Islamic law (Ross, J, 2015). He funded and gave financial support to the Taliban and Jihadist movement with the creed that Islam had to be purified and the destruction of Israel. The statement and rule he gave was to kill Americans and military personnel around the world (Horgan, J, 2004). It is also of interest to note that Bin Laden and his wife made a visit to the US with their children in 1979, well after he attended Jeddah school and had already undergone much indoctrination of these radical Islamic views, and had a mostly pleasant experience by account of his wife who stated “I came to believe that Americans were gentle and nice, people easy to deal with. As far as the country itself goes, my husband and I did not hate America, yet we did not love it” (Coll, 2009). This provides little insight and truly further raises questions regarding how Bin Laden could so savagely work to destroy lives in a place he found not unwelcoming or objectionable.
Bin Laden commanded the al-Qaeda members, but who joins these extremist groups and what shared characteristics do they possess? What causes an individual to become likely to join a terrorist group? As Bartol and Bartol explain, it involves people from every angle and way of life (2009). Old and young, men and women, and married and unmarried have all become recruits of terror groups. Also, it’s crucial to understand that these terrorist can come from well educated families, and also from families of low socioeconomic status living without opportunity in impoverished areas. Bartol and Bartol (2009) also explain that the reactive or helplessness depression a huge factor perceived in them. The bottom line seems to be that regardless of what upbringing each individual has, the issue starts with culture and a sense of lack inequality. Those who feel this lack may seek out or be targeted by groups offering a doctrine that makes promise to protect or uplift their case; by joining these groups, they begin a process of indoctrination which teaches and instills the life and commitments of being a Jihadist martyr. As mentioned by (Bartol, C & Bartol, A, 2009) terrorism comes from hate and a multifaceted number of reasons, it goes back in history and unfortunately will reside within our world
A phenomenon which has been gained attention recently is that of rises in recruitment and activity of terrorist groups and individuals acting in accordance with their principles much beyond the national border of the origin of the terror organization and often of those individuals who do not have a cultural or national tie to the groups or their operating area (Pregulman & Burke, 2012, p.2). These terrorists, whom may often be referred to as “homegrown terrorists” due to their origin of being from their home nation such as the US or European countries, are also thoroughly diverse, coming from varied educational and socioeconomic backgrounds; furthermore, these individuals rarely have any prior history of criminal activity which illustrates that deviance is not simply their nature (Pregulman & Burke, 2012, p.2). Many claim to be active in protecting the global Muslim community from the attack of the West on the Muslim faithful, and see their actions as those of defense and not an uninvited violent attack (Pregulman & Burke, 2012, p.2).
Many individuals in various nations and communities struggle with a poor socioeconomic state and lack of opportunity, but not all choose to undertake horrific acts in the aim of removing sense of safety and to terrorize others. Upon examining research regarding common traits between those that do, it can be theorized that an experience of feeling oppressed or attacked and helpless may be strong factors in determining which individuals will turn to terror in a means to express their frustrations against the world.


Coll, S. (2009). Osama in America: The Final Answer. The New Yorker. Retrieved from
Pregulman, A., & Burke, E. (2012) Homegrown Terrorism. Center for Strategic and
International Studies: Future Project and Case Study Series, 7. Retrieved from

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