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,Psychology

The "Psychology
of Terrorism

Volume III
Theoretical Understandings
and Perspectives

Edited by Chris E. Stout


FOT<word by Klaus Schwab

Psychological Dimensions (0 War and Peace


Haroq Langho/tz. S~ri~ Editor

Westport, Connecticut
London
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The psychology of lerrorism I ediled by Chris E. SIOUI ; foreword by Klaus Schwab.


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cm.-(Psychological dimensions 10 war and peaa:, ISSN 1540--5265)
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1. Terrorism-Psychological aspeClS. 2. 2. T errorim-Psychology.
crrorim- Psychology. 3.
Terrorism- Prevention. J. SIOUI,SIOUt, Chris E. II. Series.
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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1
Psychological Issues in Understanding Terrorism
and the Response to Terrorism
C lark McCauley

PUI modern terrorism in cont~[.


This chapter begins with a brief effort (0 PUt cont~ [ . There-
T here-
after. the chapter is d ividtd imo twO main sections. The: first section deals with
psychological issues involved in undc:rn:mding the: perpetrators of terrorism,
including their motivations and SU'.negies. section deals with the U.S.
suonegies. The s«ond scaion
respo
response to terrorism,
nse (0 me
terro rism, including issues of fcar and ide ntiry shift in reaction to the
evenlS of September II, litera tu~ I1!lated
II , 200 1. I cannot offer a full review of the literature
these issues, and for some issues there is so little rdevant
to even onc: of these: relevant litc:nturc:
that
[hat I a m only point in the general directions that research might we. In using a
very broad brush. J need to apologize: in advance to scholars whose kn owl ed ~ and
arc: not 2dequately represented here. A liule theory can be a danger-
contri butions art
contributions
ous thing. especially in th~ hands of a nonspedalis( th~ relevant area of theory.
nonspecialist in the
of &pte m~r 11
But the events of II war~nt some additional risk-taking in connecting
understanding of th~ origins and effects of terrorism.
psychological research to undcrstanding terro rism.

TERRORISM AS A CATEGORY OF VIOLENCE

Violence and the mrca.t


th reat o f violence to control
conuol people is an idea older than history.
but Ihe
the use of the word ltrror 10 to refer 10
to political violence goes back only
o nly to the
r~olutionaries, dueau:ned
French Revolution of the 1I 79Os. The revolutionaries, threatened by resistance:
resistance with-
in France and fo reign armies al ilS borders, unden undenookook a Reign of Terror ro suppress
Ihe enemy wirhin
wilhin . This first
fi rst violence to be called lerrorism had the power of the
Slate behind it. Terrorism loday roday is usually associa[ed
associared with political violence perpe-
rrared by groups withou[ [he power of the stilre.
[ra[ed F~ of these nonstate groups have
stille. Few
referred to themselves as lerrorists,
rerrorists, allhough
alrhough prominent exceptions indude the Russ-
ian Narodnaya Volya in ,he the lare
laiC 1800s
18005 and the Zionist Srern Siern Gang of the laiC Iare
J9405.
940s. Most nonst;1[e memscJves as revolutionaries or freedom fighlers.
nonstlUe lerrorisu.sec dIemseJves fighrers.
Slate [errorism was continues to be more dangerous. Rummel
W2S nOI only fi n (, it condnues
(1996) cstimucs
csrimues 170 million people were killed by governmenl in the twentieth
century. not including 34 million dead in bulle. Mon Man of Ihethe viclims were killed by
their own governmenl.
govcrnmenr, or, more precisely.
precisely, by the governmem
governmenl controlling the area
in which me the victims were living. Stalin.
Stalin, Mao, and Hitler were the biggesl killers
(42 million, 37 million.
million, 20 million killed.
killed, respcclivciy),
respecriveiy), wim Pol Pot's killing of 2
miUion Cambodians coming in only scvenm sevenm in ,he pantheon of killers. By com-
parison , killing by nonstilre
parison. nonstilte groups is minuscule. Rummel estimates 500,000 killed
in the twentieth cemury by terrorisu, guerrillas,
guerrillas. and other nonstate groups. Slate Srare
lerrorism
rerrorism is mus greater
gtealer by a rado ratio of about
abou[ 260 to 1. Worldwide,
Worldwide. Myers (2001)
counu
coun u 2.527 deaths from lerrorismrerrorism in all of the: J99Os. Three mousand terrorist
rhe: 199Os.
vicrims
viC[ims on Seplembcr
Seplember II is thus a big inClemenr lemem in Ihe the killing done by lerrorists,
terrorists,
but does not nOI change (he scale of the comparison: Srale terro rism is by fiu F.u me
gre,lIer
grcoller danger.
Despite the origin of the term u"ornm in reference (0 to state [error,
terror. and despite
pre-<:minence of Slate
me pre-eminence $late terror in relation to nonslale
nonstate terror, terrorism today is
usually understood to mean nonstate terrorism. Nonstate Nonstatc terrorism includes bolh both
anli-stilte lerror
anri-stilte rerror and vigilante terror, but bUI il is usu.ally anti-stilte terrorism dIat
mat is the
focw of attendon-
focus a[lendon- violence againsr
against recognized Slates
states by sm.all groups without
withoul the
power of a state. Most definirions
definitions of anti-Slate
anti-sure terrorism .also include the idea of
violence against noncombatants, especially women and children, almough although the sui-
cide bombing of the u.s. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1984 is often referred [0ro as
me U.S.
terrorism,
rerrorism, as is the
me September
Sc:ptembc:r II attack
arrack on the Pentilgon.
Ami-state terrorism cannot be understood outside the context
Ami-stue comext of stare
state terrorism.
Compared with the nineteenth
ninetcenm century, the twentieth century saw massive increa,s-.
es in state power. The modern stilte reaches deeper into the lives of citizens than
ever before. It collcclS
collects more in taxcs. irs regulations.
rues, and iu regulations, rewards. and punishments
push runher imo into wo rk. school, and neighborhood. The stilte culture is mus ever
work.
harder to resist; any culture group that does not conuol a slate state is likely to feel in
danger of extincrion.
extinction. BUI resistance 10 to Slate
state culture faces stilte
state power that continues
to grow. It is in the context
10 comext of growing stare power that anti-slate (errorislS
mal anti-stare terrorists can feel
increasingly desperatc.
desper-He.
Much has been written
wriucn about how to define anti-stateanti-Slate terrorism. but I generally
terrorism, bUl
agree with mose who say me difference between a terrorist terrorisl and a freedom fighter is
politiC$ of the beholder ($ee McCauley.
mostly in the politics McCauley, 199 1, and McCauley, in
press-b, for more o n this
press-b. mis issue). T he psychological question is how members of a
small group wilhout
withoul Ihe power of a state becomc become capable of political violence that
PsycholotiClll lmm i" UnJn1t."Ji"g TnTfJrism ."J tIN RtllUJ1Ut to Trn'Orism
PsychobJriClll 5

includes violence against noncombatants. In the remainder of this chapter. I follow


common usage in referring to anti-state terrorism simply as "terrorism."
Wterrorism."

TERRORIST MOTIVATIONS

Individuals become terrorists in many different ways and fo r many different rea-
sons. Here I will simplify to consider three kinds of explamuion of the September
II auacks:
au:acks: thL'Y :are
arc crazy, thc:y 2fC crazed by hatred :rnd
they 2ft and :anger,
anger, or tht.'Y
thL'Y are rational
within their own perspective. My argument is that terrorism is not to be undcr- under-
stood as pathology, and that terrorists emerge out our of a normal psychology of emo-I!mo-
tiona!
tional commitment to cause :lnd comrades.

Terrorism as Individual
Turorum Individua.l Pathology
A common suggestion thert must be something wrong with terrorists.
suggcstion is that thl!re
TerroristS must bc
be crazy, oorr suicidal, or psychopatbs
psychopaths without moral fedings.
fl!dings. Only
someone with something wrong wi rh him could do the cold-blooded killing [hat a
with
terrorist d0C5.

Tht S,4rch
S,4nh for P4thology
Thirty years ago, this suggestion was taken raken very seriously, but thirty yL-ars
yl!ars of
rCSL":Irch has found lime (,'Vidence that terroristS arc suffering from psychopatholo-
rest.-arch
gy. This research has profit~ by what now amount to hundreds of interviews with
terrorists. Some terrorists arc are captured and interviewed in prison. Some active ter-
rorists can be found in their home neighborhoods. if the interviewer knows where
to look. And some rttiroo retircd tttrorists
tc:trorists arc willing to talk about ,heir
their t-arlier :activities,
activitics,
parricularly
panicularly if these aClivitics
aClivities were successful. Irl.hak Shamir and Menachem Blogin.
fo r instance, moved from anti-Arab :rnd I~d crsh ip of the
and anti-British terrorism to leadership
state orot' Israel . InterviL-WS
InterviL"WS with terrorists rarely
rardy find any disorder listed in the Ameri-
A~soci ation 's Dingnostic
can Psychiatric Auociation's Dingnosric and Statistical
Stntistical Manunl
ManUAl ofMmtal Disordm.
Disordtrs.
More systematic research confirms the interview re.m lts. Particularly thorough
wen:
were the German studies of the Baader-Meinhof
Baadcr-Meinhof Gang. Although the terrorists had
gone underground and their locations were wer~ unknown, their identities were known.
Excellent German records provided a grear gr~r dcal of information about each eaeh individ-
ual. Prenatal rt.'Cords,
n:cords, perinara.1
pcrinara.1 rl'Cords, pediatric records, prcschool
preschool records. lower-
.~c hoo l records,
rtcords, grade school records, high school records, university rccords (most
had had some universiry
univcrsiry eduC3rion)-a11
eduC2.tion)-a11 of thcst
these werc
were comlx:d for clues to under-
standing thcse these indi\'idu:als.
individuals. Family. neighbors, schoolmarts-all rhose who had
schoolmates-all those
known an individual before the leap to terrorism-were in rervicwt.-d. A comparison
intervicwl"CI.
sample of individuals from the same neighborhoods, matched fo r gl!nder, gt.'nder, age. and
,ncioeconornic status, w;u similarly studied
"ocioeconomic studied.. The results of these investigations take rake
several feet of shdf space,~ pa ce, but are
arc easy to summarize. The terrorists did not differ difft.'r
from the comparison group of nontl!rrorisu way; in panicular,
nonteTTorisu in any substantial way;
rhl! rl!rrorists did
rhe rerrorists d id nor show higher rates of any kind of psychopathology.

Terrorists lIS Psychopllths


Prychopllths
Some have suggestl!d
suggested that tl!rrorislS
teTTorislS arc antisocial personalities or psychopaths.
Psychopaths can be: intelligent and very much in contact with reality; their problem
is ,hal they are arc socially and morally defi deficient.
cient. T They
hey are law-breakers. deceitfu
deceitful, l,
aggressive. and reckless in disregarding the safety of self and others. others. Thq
T h..:y do not
fed remorse for huning Olhers. A5 some individuals cannot sec see color. psychopaths
cannot fed fcd empathy or affection for others.
Explaining terrorism as the work of psychopaths brings a new ddifficulty, how(.ov-
ifficu lty, howt.>y-
l!r. T he September 11 attackers were willing to give their lives in the anack.. So far
t! r. The
as I am :.tware,
lware, no one has ever suggcsted
suggested thaI psychopath's
thaI a psychopath 's moral blindness can
take the form of self-sacrifice.
self-sacrifice. In addition, psychopaths arc nOlably
notably impulsive and
irresponsible. The mutual commitment and frUSt
irresponsible. trust evident within each of the four
groups of attackers, and in the cooperatio n ber.o.·cen
ber.o.·een groups,
groups. arc
are radically inconsis-
tent with the psychopathic pcrsonllity.
pcrson:.tlity.
It is possible that a terrorist
tcrrorisl group might recruit a psychopath for a particular
mission, if the mission requires inAicting pain or death without the distraction of
sympathy for for the victims.
victims, but the mission would have to be a one-person job, job.
something that requires little or no coordination
coordin:.ttion and trust. And the mission would
have to offer a re:uonable
reasonable chance of success
SUCCCSl without suicide.

The Que Agairut Pathou,D


Of course there arc are occasional lone bombers or lone gunmen who kill for politi-
cal causes,
C:.I.uses, and such individuals may indeed sulfer fro m some form of psychopathol-
ogy. A loner like T Theodo
heodore rl! Kaczynski
K2czynski , the "Unabomber," sending O UI U I leltcr
leiter bombs
in occasional forays from his wilderness cabin, may suffer from psychopathology.
But terrorists openci
open.{ingng in groups, especially groups that can organ organize
ize attacks that
arl! successful , are
arc aTe very unlikely to sulfer from serious psychopathology.
Indeed, terrorism would be a trivial problem if only those with some kind of
psychopathology could be terrorists. Rather, we have to face f:.tce the fact thaI
that normal
people can be terrorists. that we arc ourselves capablc of terrorist :.tCIS l CIS under some
circumStances. This faCt
circumstances. fiaCt is already implie:d in rc:cognizing
:.tlready implied r«ognizing that military and police
forces involved in state terrorism are all aU tOO
tOO apablc
apable of killing noncombatants. Few
would suggest that the broad range of soldiers and policemen involved in such
kitling
killing must all be suffering some:
muSl all some kind of psychopathology.
psychop:.tthology.

Terrorism as
u Emotiooal
Emotio oal Expression
Expressio n
When asked at a press conference on October
Ocwber II , 200 1. why people in lhe
Muslim world hate the United States, President Bush expressed am:.tzement
amazement :.tnd
and
replied. ~Th at's because they don't know w."
replied,
President Bwh is not the only one o ne ro accept the idea that the September 11 11
:macks were an expression of harred. ~ Why do they hale
ofharred. hate us?~ has bttn
been the headline
ncws pa ~rs and magazines. Despite the head-
of numerow stories and editorials in newspapers
lines, there h3.'
hasl been little analysis of what haired means or where it may corne from
fro m..

H"tnd ""d A"ln


A"ln
The surprising fact is that, although a few psychoanalysts have discussed harred,
there is very little
little: psychological research focused on hate or haucd.
haued. Gordon AJlponAJlporr
(1954) offered brief mention of harred in writing about The Ntlt/If( Ntltllr( of Prejudict,
ofPrejlldict,
and more recendy Marilyn Brewer (200 (2001) has asked ~ Wh
1) h3.'l When e n does ingrou
ingroupp love
become OUtgroup hate?" But empirical empirical research on hatred, part panicularly
icularly rese:uch
research
that distinguishes hatred from anger, is notably absent. In eontrast,contrast, there is a large
and well-developed research liternture on the emotion of anger. Does hatred mean
anything more man strong anger! An example suggests mat hatred may be differ· differ.
ent. A parent can be angry wi th a misbehaving child. angry to me point of striking
the:
the child. But even a ught up in that violence,
violence. the parent would not hate the child.
A few ddifferences
iffe rences betwttn anger and hatred show up in the way these: words are
used in everyday spccch.
speech. Anger is hot, hatred can be cold. Anger is a response to a
particular incident or offense; hatred exprcsscs
expresses a longer-term relation of antipathy.
We sometimes t:tlk about harred when we mean only strong dislike, as in "~ II hate
broccoli," but even in mis usage there is the sense of a long-term unwavering unWlllvering dis-
dis·
like. a dislike without exceptions, and perhaps even the wish that broccoli should
be wiped from every menu.
In TIlt DrtldfJ
DttldfJ Elh",'c Riol, Donald Horowitz
Elhnic Riol, Ho rowin offers a distinction between anger
and hatred that is consistent with the language JUSt considered. Horowitz (200 I , p.
543) quotes Aristotle as follows:
fo llows: M~Th
Thee angry man wants the object of his anger to
suffer in return; hatred wishes its object not to exist," This distinction begs for a
parallel distinction in offenders or offenses, a d istinction that can predict when an
offense leads to anger and when to hatred. O ne possibility (see (sec also Brewer,
Brewer, 2001)
is that an offe
offense
nse that includes long.term threat is more likely to elicit the desire to
eliminate
el iminate the offender. The emotional reaction to threat is fear: fea r~ Thus hatred may
be a compound of anger and fear, such mat anger alone aims to punish whereas
hatred aims to obliterate the thre:lt.
threat. If hatred is related to anger,
anger, then research on
anger may be able to help w us understand the behavio
behaviorr of terrorists.
terrorists.

The PsychowtJ ofA"get'


A"ln
Explanation of terrorism as the work of people blinded by an~ r is at least
le3.'lt gen-
~ ra lly consistent with what is known about the emotion of anger. In panicular,
erally
there is reason to believe that anger docs get in the way of judgment. In PaJ,Jio11l
Within Rras071, Robert Frank (1 988) argues mat that blindness to sclf-interest
self-interest is the
evolut ionary key to anger. If each individual acted rationally on self-interest, the
evolutionary
strong
nrong could do anything they wanted to the weak. Both would realize that [he the
wa
waker ker can
cannot
not win and the weaker would always
a1Wl11YS defer to the stronger. But anger
can lead th~ w~a k~r [0 anack the: th~ suong~r
suong~t despire: th~ objective balance
balance: of fo rces.
The stronger will win win,, bUI
but he will suffer some C OSts along th~ W2y and m~ possibili-
COSts possibili.
COSts restrains Ih~
ry of these: cOSts
I}' (h~ demands of the 5!ronger.
5!rongcr.
This perspective suggests an evolutionary advantage for individuals fo r whom
anger can conquer fear. The Th~ result should be a gradual incre:ase
increase in the proponion
of individuals who are capable of anger. Everyday experience suggests that most mosl
people arc capable of ang~r under the right circumsWlCCS.
circumstarlccs. What arc those circum-
stancC:5--mat is, wh;u arc the elicitors
stancC5--mat dicitors of anger?
Ther~ are basically twO theories
theoriC5 of anger (Sabini,
(Sabini , 1995, pp. 4 11 -428). The first ,
comes to us from Aristolle,
which comC5 Aristod e, says that anger is the emotional
emotional reaction to
insult- an offense in which the respect or status due to an individual is violated.
The second, which eme:rged
emerged from experimental
e:xperimental research with animals, says that
anger is the e:mmional
emotional reaction (Q to pain , especially
espc:cially the:
the pain of frustration. Frustra-
tio n is understood
unde:rstood as the htilure to recc:ive:
receive an expected reward.
rc:wa.rd. These:
These theories obvi-
owly have a great deal in common. Respect expected but not fonhcoming fonhcom ing is a
painful frwuation
frw[f;uion . For our purposes, thethe: twO theories differ chiefly in their empha-
sis on material welfare. Insult is subjective, asocial.
asocial, whereas at least some interpreta-
inte:rpreta-
dons
tions of frustration include objective poverty and powerlessness as frustrations that
can lead 10 to anger. This int~rp[ctation of frustration-aggression thoory theory was popular
at me
the 2002 World Economic Forum, at al which many luminaries cited material malerial
deprintion as th~ cause or o r at least an imponanr cause causc of violence aimed at the
West (Friedm:m,
(Friedman, 2002a).

I,,,/i,,iJIl4l Fnu"'41;01l
l"dillidll4l 411d Insull
Fnu"..,;o" ."" Inndt
The immediate:
immediate difficulty of seeing the September 11 11 terrorists as crazed with
anger is the fact ., much cited by journalists
journalistS and pundits, that thethe: September 11 ter-
rorists were not obviously suffering from frustration or insult. Mohammed Ana
arne
came from a middle-class f.unily in Egypt, EgyPt, studied architecture
architctture in Cairo, travded
traveled to
Hamburg, Germany, for funher studies smdies in architecture, and h:Jd a part-time job
doing architectural
archiu.-:crural drawings for a German fi rm. rm. H is German thesis, on the ancient
archirecture of AJeppo,
architecmre AJeppo. was wdl well received. According to Thomas Friedman's (2002b) (2oo2b)
oth~rs of the September 11 pilOl-leadets came
inquiries, several others cam~ from similar mid· mid-
dl~-class backgrounds. with similar threads
dle-class thn:ads of personal success.
The origins of the th~ September II terrorist-leaders
terrorist-Iead~rs arc thus strikingly different
differ~nt
from the:
the origins of the th ~ Palestinian suicide terrorists that Arid Me:rari
Merad has be~n been
studying for decades in Israel (Ldyveld, 2001). 2001 ). The Palestini
Palestinianan terrorists arear~
young, male, poor, and un ~ducated. Their motivations arc
uneducated. are manifold but notably
include the several thousand dollars awarded to the fami ly of a Palestinian martyr. m;utyr.
amount is small by Western standards bur enough
The :amount to lift a Palestinian family
e:nough lO
abject poverty. including suppOrt for par~nls
OUt of :abject parents and aged rdatives and a dowry
for th~ marryr's sist~rs. It is easy to charact~riu
m:arryr's sisters. charact~riu: thc:sc:
these suicide terrorists
terroristS as frwtrat
frwtrateded
by poveny and hopelessness, with frustration leading to anger against Israd :as as the
perceived source of their problems.
But this explanation doc:s not fit at least the leaders of the September II terror-
ists. W'hence their anger, if anger is the explanation of their attacks? Perhaps
ists. Perhaps they
thc:y
ate angry, not about their own personal experience
c:xperience of frustration
frustrat ion and insult, but
about [he
the frustrations
frus trations and insults experienced by their group.

Group Frwtrlltion lind Insult


In the Handbook of Social Psychology,
Psychowgy, Kinder (1998)
(1 998) summarizes the accumulai:-
ed evidence that political opinions are only weakly predicted by narrow self-interest
and more suongiy
strongly predicted by group interest. The poor do not support welfare
policies more than others, young males are not less in favor of war than others, par-
ents of school-age children are not more opposed than others to busing for desegre-
gation. Rather it is group interest that is the useful predictor. Sympathy for
gation. fo r the
poor predicts favoring increased welfare. Sympathy for fo r African Americans predicts
support for busing and other desegregation policies.
policies. Unless individual self-interest
is exceptionally large
large: and clear cut, voters' opinions are not self-centered but group-
centered.
Similarly, Kinder recounts evidence that political action, including protest and
confrontation, is motivated more by identification with group interest than by self-
interest.

Thus participation of black college students in the civil rights move-


ment in the American South in the 1960s was predicted
predicted. ben
better
er by their
anger over society's treatment of black Americans in general than by
any discontent they felt
fel t about their own lives .. .. Thus white work-
ing-class participants in the Boston antibusing movement were moti-
vated especially by their resentments about the gains of blacks and pro-
fessionals,
fessionals , and less by their own personal troubles. (Kinder. 1998, p.
83 1)
831)

Group identification makes sense of sacrifice from individuals who are not per-
sonally frustrated or insulted. T The
he mistake is to imagine that self-sacrifice must
come from personal problems. rather than identification with group problems. problems.
This mistake rests in ignorance of the fact that many post-World War II terrorists
have been individuals of middle-class origins,
origins. people with options. The Baader-
Mei
Meinhof
nhof Gang in Germany, the Red. Red Brigade in Italy. the Weather Underground
in the United States-these and many other post-WWII terrorist groups are made
up mostly of individuals with middle-class origins and middle-class skills honed by
at least some university eduCltion
education (McCauley & Segal, 1987).
1987) . Explaining self-sac
self-sacri-
ri-
fice
fi ce as a result of personal problems is no more persuasive for terrorists than for
Mother Teresa or U.S. U.S. Medal of Honor winners.
winners.
The power of group identification is thus the foundation of intergroup confl
conflict,
ict,
especially fo
forr large groups where individual self-interest is probably maximized by
free-riding, that is, by letting other group members pay the COStS COStS of advancing
wdfar~ th:1t
group wdfare that the individual will profit from.
from . Here
Hen" I am assening brieRy whal
what
McCau l~y. in press-a).
I elsewhere argue fo r in more detail (McCauley. 2001; McCauley.
Th
T he~ explanation of (errorist
rerrorisr sacrifice as a fit of anger overcoming self-interest
can now be reformulated in terms of anger over group insult and group frustradon.
The potential origins of such anger arearc not difficult to d iscern .

Insu/tllna Frustrlltion
Insu/lana lIS S~~n by Muslinu (ana
Frustration II.J (llna Othen)
From Morocco to Pakistan lies a belt of Muslim states in which governmt nts nu
have police and military power but liltle public support. Tht gulf betY.'een rich and
poor is deep and wide in these countries, and government is associated with West-
ern-leaning elites for whom government,
government. not private enterprise, is the source SOUfce of
wealth. Political mreat
threat [0 to the Stale
state is not tolerated; imprisonment, tonure, ;md and
death are the
me tools of the Stale state against political
political opposition. Al the Catholic Church
in Poland under communism came to be the principal refuge of political opposi-
lion.
tion. so fundament'.tlist MuslimMwlim mosques arc the principal refuge of political oppo-
sition to government in these states.
In this conRk t between Muslim Mwlim governments
govcrnmems and Muslim peoples, the Unitt'<i
States and other Westt rn countries have supported {he the governmenlS.
governments. When the
Algerian government was about [0 to lose an dection
d ection [0
to (he
the lsi2mic Salv.uion Front in
1992. the government
1992, govt rnment annulled the election and Europeans and Americans were
glad (0
to accept the lesser
lessc:r of two evils. Western countries have h av~ supported authoritari-
an governments of
govemmenlS Eg)'pt . Eg)·pt, Jordan, and Pakistan with credits
crroilS and military assisance.
U.S. support for fo r Israel against the Palestinians is only one part of th is panern parrern of
supporting power against people.
A1-Qaeda is an association of exiles exilcs and refugees from the political violence
going o n in Muslim countries. Long before declaring Jihad j ihad against
again$! the Un ited
States, bin Laden was attacking the house of Saud fo r letting U.S. trOOps
Statcs, trOO ps remain in
the holy land of Mecca and Medina afte r the Gulf War. Fifteen of the September
I I terrorists came originally from from Saud i Arabia, although most seem to have hav~ been
r~c ruired from (he
recruited the Muslim diaspora in Europe. The United Stltes St:ltcS has bc~o
become me a
targel because
beause it is seen as supporting the governments that created the d iaspora. iaspora .
Th~ United Statd
The States is in the position of someone who has stumbled into a f.un f.uniily
ly
sc~n a ri o seems
feud. If this scenario se~ms strained, consider the th~ parallel between Mw Muslims
lims declar-
ing Jihad th~ United States for supporting
jihad on the supponing state terrorism in Muslim countries.
and the United States declaring war on any country that supports supporlS terrorism agai nst
the United States.
It is important to recognize that it is not only Arab and Muslim countries in
respo ns ibl ~ fo
which U.S. policies are seen as responsible forr terrorist attacks against the United
States In an IHT/ Pew poll of 275 ~ o pinj pini on- m ake
akersM
rs M in twenty-fou
twenty-fourr countries,
respondents were asked how many ordi nary people think that U.S. policies and
actions in the world were we r~ a major cause of the September II attack (Knowlton,
200 1). In the United States, only 18 percent of respondents respond~nts said many people
think this; in twemy-three other countries, an average of 58 percent said most or
many people think th this.
is. In Islamic countries, 76 percent sa n id most or many think
this, and even in Western European counuies, 36 percent said moS[ or many think
this. Americans do not have to accept the judgments of other
orner countries, but will
have to deal with them.

AnK" or Low! .
If group identification
identifi cation can lead to anger fo r frustrations and insults suffered by
the group. it yet remains to be determined if there
me there: is any evidence
evidence: of such emotions
in tbe September 11 II terrorists. O ur best guide to the motives of those: mose who carried
the attacks of September 11
O Ut me II is the document found fo und in the luggage of several of
the attackers. Four of the fi ve pages of this document have been rc!casro relcasro by the FBI
these pages have been translated and interpreted
and mese in terpreted by Makiya
Malciya and Mneimnch
(2002). IJ am indebted to Hassan Mneimneh for his assistance in understanding
this documenr.
The
T he four pages arc are surprising
su rprising fo r what meythey do nOi contain. There is no list of
group fru.s[l2tions
fru.srrarions and insults, no litany of injustice to justify violence. "The sense
throughout is that the would-be martyr is env-ged
Ihroughout engoaged in his action solely to please
God. There
T here is no mention of any communal purpose behind his behavior. In all of
the four pages available to us there is not a word or an 2n implication
impliC2lion about
2bout any
wrongs that are to be redressed mrough through m2ttyrdom,
martyrdom, whether in Palestine or Ir:aq Iraq or
in 'the land of Muhamm2d,'
Muhammad,' the me phrase:
phrase bin Laden used in the :.al-Jauera
21-Jau:era video that
was shown after September 11 II"" (Makiya & Mneimneh, 2002, p. 21). Indeed, the
text cites approvingly
2pprovingly a Story from the Koran Kora n about Ali ibn Talib, cousin and son-
in-law of the Prophet, who is spat upon by an infidel in combat. The Muslim
holds his sword until he can master the impulse for vengeance-an individu.al individual and
human motive-and strikes only when he can strike for the sake of God.
Rather than anger
2nger or hatred, the:the! dominant message of me the text is a focus on the
eternal. There arc 2fe many references to the Koran, Koran , and the vocabulary departS from
scventh-century Arabic only for a few references to mode:!rn
scventh-ccntury modern concepts such as air- 2ir-
pon and plane (and these modern words are arc reduced to one-letter
one-leftC:r abbreviations).
connection with God and the work of God, to fed
To fl-el conncction peace of submission
fed the pe2ce
to God's will- these are imper:atives and the prom
2fe the imperatives ~ of the text. Invocations
promises
and prayers are to be oofferedffered at every srage
stage of the journey: the last nighl night , the jour-
ney to Ihe
the airpon, boarding the plane, takeoff. taking the plane, welcoming death.
The reader is reminded [hat fear is an act of worship due only to God. If killing is
that fe2r
necessary, the langu2ge
language of the text makes the killing a ritual slaughter with wim vocabu-
2I)' that
1lary mat refers to animal sacrifice. including the sacrifice of Isaac th2[ that Abraham was
prepared [to0 offer.
prep2red
Judging from this [cxt. lext. the psychology of the September 11 {errorim terrorists is not a
psychology or of anger,
2nger, or hatred, or vengeance. T he terrorists
terrorisu arc
2le not righting human
wrongs but acting with God and for God av-inst 2goainst evil . [n
In most general [erms,
terms, it is a2
psychology of artachmem
2rtachmem [0 to the good ralher
rather than
th2n a2 psychology of hatred fo forr evil.
Research with U.S.
Rese2fch U.S. soldiers in World War" War 11 found something similar; hatred of
the enemy W2S was a minor mOlive
motive in combat perfo rmance, whereas attachment 2nachmenr 10 lO
buddies and not W2ming w:.aming to lei let them down was a major motive (Stouffer et aI., al.,
1949). This resonance with the psychology of combat-
combat-aa psychology usually treat-
ed as normal psychology-again suggests the possibility that terrorism and terror-
ists may be more normal than is usually recognized.

Terrorism as Normal Psychology


The trajectory by which normal people become capable of doing terrible things is
usually gradual, perhaps imperceptible ro to the individual. This is among other things
a moral trajectory,
uajecrory, such as Sprinzak (1991) and Horowitz (200 1) have described.
described..
In too-simple terms, terrorists kill for
fo r the same reasons that groups have killed
other groups for centuries. They lcill for cause and comrades, that is, with a combi-
nation of ideology and intense small-group dynamics. The cause that is worth
lcilling for and dying for is not abstract but personal-a view of the world that
makes sense of life and death and links the individual to some form of immortality.

Tbr Psychology ojCllur


Every normal person believes in something more important than life. We have
[0,
(0, because, unlike other animals, we know that we are going to [0 die. We need some-

thing that
thar makes sense of our life life and our death, something that thar makes our death
different from
nom the death of a squirrel lying by the side of the road as we drive to
work. The doser
closer and more immediate death is, the more we need the group values
that give meaning to life and death. T These
hese include the values of family, religion,
ethnicity, and nationality-
nationality-the the valucs
values of our culmre.
culture. Dozens of experiments have
shown that thinlcing about death, their own death, leads people w to embrace more
Strongly the values of their culmre (Py=nski
(Pyszcznski , Greenberg, & Solomon, 1997).
nOt have w
These values do not to be expl
explicitly
icitly religious. Many of the terrorist groups
since World War II have been radical-socialist groups with purcly purdy secular roots; the
Red Brigade in Italy, the Baader-Mei nhof Gang in Germany, the Shining Path in
Peru. Animal rights and saving the environment can be causes that justify terror-
ism. For much of the rwentieth century, atheistic communism was such a cause.
Thus there is no special relation berween religion and violence; religion is only one
lcind of cause in which individuals can find fi nd an answer w to mortality.
mortality.
What is essential is that the cause should have the promise of a long and glori-
ous fumre.
fumre . History is important in supporting this promise. A cause invented yes-
terday cannot easily be seen to have a glorious and indefiniteindefinit e futu re. The histoty
history
must be a group history. No one ever seems to have had the idea that she or he
alone will achieve some kind of immortality. Immortality comes as part of a group:
family group, cultural group, religious group. or ideological group. A good partici-
pant in the group, one who lives up to the norms of the group and contributes to
the group. will to that extent live on after death as part of the group. The meaning
of the individual 's life is the fumre
future of the cause, embodied in the group that goes
on into the fum re:
re after the
the: individual is dead.
TIu Psycho/OD
P¥holoD o/ComTl,th,
ofComrlltUl
T he group's
The grou p's values are focu.scd [0 a personal intensity in the small group of Iike-
minded people who perpetr.He terrorist violence. Most individuals individ uals belong [0 many
groups--f.unily, co-workers, neighborhood, religion religion,, country-and ach of these
groups has some infl influence
uence on individual
individ ual beliefs and behavior. Different
Diffe rent groups
have different values, and the competition of values reduces the power of anyone
group over its members. But members of an underground terrorist group have put
this group fi rst in their lives, dropping or reducing every other connection. T he
power of this one group is now enormous, and extends Qtends [0 to every kind of personal
and moral judgment . This T his is the power that
thar an
can make violence against the enemy
no!
not just acceptable but necesnry.
Every army aims [0 to do what the terrorist group does: to link a larger group
cau.sc with the small-group dynamics that acan n deliver individuals to sacrifice. Every
army cuts trainees off from their previous lives so that the combat unit can become
their fam ily; thei r fellow-soldiers become their brothers and their fear of leuing
down their comrades becomes greater {han their fear of dying. The power of an
isolating group over
ovcr its members is not limited to jUSlifying
jUSlifying violence. Many nonvi-
olent groups also gain power by separating individuals from groups mat might
offer competing values. Groups using usi ng this
mis tactic include religious cults, drug treu-treat-
ment centers, and residential schools and colleges. In brief, the psychology behind
terrorist violence is normal psychology, abnormal only in the intensiry of me the group
dynamics thaIthat link cause with comrades.
Some commentators have noted that the September II terrorists, a( least the
pilot-leaders,
pilot-laders, spent long periods of time dispersed in the United States. How could
the intense group dynamics that are arc typical of underground groups be maintained
in dispersal? There are two possible answers. The first fi rst is that physical dispersal is
connections. It
not the same as developing nL'W group conncctions. h seems thai
that the dispersed ter-
rorists lived without close
d ose connections
connect ions [0 others outside the terrorist group. They
d id not take interesting jobs, become dclose ose to co-workers, or develop romantic rela-
tionships. Although living apm, apart, they remained con nected [0 and anchored in only
one group, meir terrorist group.
The second possibility is that group dynamics can be less important to the
extent that the ause--the
cause--rhe ideology of the cause-is more impom impomnt. nt. As noted ear-
lier, the pilot-leaden
pilot-leaders of the September II terrorists were wen~ not
nOl poor o r unulented;
untalented;
they were men with a middle-class background and education. For educated men,
the power of ideas may substitute
substitu(e to some degree for the everyday reinforcement of
Indet:d , the terrorist document referred to above is a kind of
l like-minded group. Indet:d,

manual forfo r using conuol


control of :mattention
ention to
ro control behavior, and this kind of manual
should wowork rk better for individuals f.unil iar with the attractions of ideas. Probably
both
borh possibilitie5-a social world reducc:d to one group despite physical dispersal,
and a group
gro up of individuals for whom the ideology of cause is unusually impomnt
and powerful-<ontributed
powerfuJ-<onttibured to the cohesion of the September 11 II perpetrators.
Th~ PsycholoO
The Psychology ofCrJl R~CTJI;ti"g
Recruiting
Studies of recruiting for the Unification Church provide some insight in[O indi-
me call of cause and comrades (McCauley &
vidual differences in vulnerability to the
Segal, 1987). Galanter (1980) surveyed participants in Unification Church recruit-
ing workshops in southern California, and found that mat the
me best predictOr of who
becomes a member was the me ;mswer
answer [0 a question about how close the individual
feels to people outside me the Unification Church. Those with outSide
ourside attachmentS
attachments
were more likely to leave, whereas those without outside
OUtSide connections are more like-
ly [0
to join. This is the power of comrades. Barker (J 984) surveyed participants in
Unification Church recruiting workshops in London, and found that the best pre-
becom..:s a member was the answer to a question about goals. Those
dictOr of who becomd
who said "something but I don't know what" were more likely to join. This is the
power of cause, a group cause that can give meaning to an individual's life. Terror-
ist groups, like cuh
cub groups, cut the individual off from other contactS
contac(S and are par-
ticularly attractive to individuals without close connections and the meaning (hat that
comes with group anchoring. Only those who have never had the experience of
feeling cut off from family , fri ends, and work will want to see this kind of vulnera-
bility as a kind of pathology.
pamology. The rest of us will feel fortunate that we did not at
this point in our lives encounter someone recruiting for a cult or terrorist group.

The Psychology
PsycholoO ofCmis
The psychology of cause and comrades is multiplied by a sense of crisis. Many
observers have noted an apocalyptic quality in the worldview of terroristS.
terroristS. Terror-
is(S see the world precariously balanced berween good and evil, at a point where
ists
action can bring about the triumph of the good. The "end times" or the millenni-
um or the uiumph of the working class is near, or can be made near by the right
extreme action, is required immediately, for the triumph of the
action. Action, exneme
good and the defeat of evil. This "ten minutes to ro midnight" feeling is part of what
makes it possible for normal people [0 risk their lives in violence.
Consider the passengers of the hijacked flight that crashed in western Pennsyl-
van ia. The passengers found out from their cell phones thar hijacked planes had
crashed into the World Trade Center. They had every reason to believe that their
plane was on its way [0 a similar end. Unarmed, they decided to attack me the hijack-
ers, and sacrificed their
rheir lives in bringing the plane down before it could impact its itS
intended target , which was probably the Pentagon or the White House. When it is
ren minutes to midnight, there is lirtle [0 lose and everything to gain.
ten
The sense of crisis is usually associated with an overwhelming threat. In the case
of the September II terrorists, the threat seems to be a fear that mat fundamentalist
Muslim culture is in danger of being overwhelmed by Western culture. The military
and econom ic power of the West, and the relative feebleness of once-great Muslim
nations in the modern era, are submerging Muslims in a tidal tida] wave of individual-
attachmem to :I.a view of what Muslims should be
ism and irreligion . Note that it is attachment
and fear for the future of Muslims th:l.t
that are the emotional foundations of the terror-
PlJchologiuli bnul
Prychologiuli flnul in UndnlUlnding Tt'7TorUm
TnTorUm IInd,k Rrtpopur
Rrtponsr tv
to Trrrorinn 15

ists. They do not begin fro m hOitred


from hOltrcd of the West, but from love of their own group
culmre that
and culmrc rhat they see
sec in danger of extinction from the power of the West.
WCSt.
Similarly, the United States, mobilized by President Bush fo r a W3f against t1-t1 -
ro rism, does not begin from hau
rorism, ed of al-Qaeda bur from love of country.
harred Mobl-
country. MobI-
lizarion indudcs
lization ind udes a rheroric
rhewric of crisis,
crisis, of impending threat from an evil em:my
eno.:my or,
more recently, an "axis of evil." Americans' anger lOward
wward al-Qaeda, and perhaps
broadl y lOward
more broadly Anbs and Muslims, is not an independent emotion but a
toward Arabs
product of patriotism combined with a crisis of threat.
threat.

The Psychology of the Slippery Slope


T he sense of crisis does nor spring full -blown upo upon n an individual. It is the end
of a long trajectory
trajecrory to terrorism, a trajectory in which the individual individual moves slowly
wward an apocalyptic view of the world and a correspondingly extreme behavioral
toward
commitment. Sprim.ak (1991) (1 99 1) has distinguished three stages in this trajectory: a
crisis ofconfidmce, in which a group protests protests and demonstrates
de monstrates against the prevail-
ing political
polilical sySiem
system wilh with a criticism that yel yet accepts the system's values; a conflict of
/tgitimflCY, in which wh ich the group loses confidence in reform and advances advanccs a compet-
ing ideological and cultural culmral systt:msystem while moving w to angry protcstprotest and small-scale
violence; and a crisis of lq,irjmacy, ltgirjmacy, in which the group gwup embraces terrorist violence
against the government and everyone who supportS the government. government. Whether as
an individual joining an extreme group, or as a member of a group that becomes
more extreme.
e:nrcme.:: O'ier time, the individual individual becomes more eJ[treme in a series of steps
so small as to nc near invisible. The result is a terrorist who may look back at the
transition te.:rro rism with no sense of having ever made an explicit choice.
tra nsition to terrorism
Psychology offers several models of th thisis kind of slippery slope (se.:e McCauley &
Segal,
Se.:gal, 1987, fo r mo re re.: derail). OneO ne is Milgram's obedience experiment, eJ[periment, in which 60
percent of subjects arc are.: willing to deliver the the.: maximum shock level r450 r 450 volts XXX
Danger Strong Shock") to a supposed fd fellow
low subject in a supposed learni learning
ng experi-
mc.
mem.: nt. In one variation of the e)[peri experi mem,
ment, Milgr'lnl
Milgf'J m h:ld the experimenter
experi memer called
away on a prete.:xt pretext and anocher another supposed subject came up with the idea of raising
the shock one levd level with each mistake from the tht: ~ learner.
lt::a rn e r. " In ththis
is variation, 20 per-
cent went
wem on to deliver dcliver maximum shock. T he 20 percent yidding cannot be atnib- attrib-
u(cd to the authority of the experimenter
uted e.:xpcrimenter and is most naturally understood unde.:rstood as the
power of self-j ustifi cation acting
self-justification acti ng on the small increments in shock level. Each shock
ddi ve.:red becomes
delivered be.:comes a reason for giving the ne.:)[t next higher shock, because the small
incre.:ments in shock mean that the
increments the.: subject has to see se.:e something at least a little: little
wrong with the the.: last shock if there is something some.:thing wrong wro ng with the n!:Xt ncxt one. A dear
choice.: betwe.:en
choice be.: twe.:en good and evil would be be.: a shock generator with only rwo levels, lcvd s, 15
volls and 450 volts, but Ihe the.: 20 percent who go all the the: way never see sec a d ear choice.:
de.:ar
be.:rween good and evil.
berween evil .
Another model of the. the: terro
terroris(
rist trajectory is more explicitly social-psychological.
G roup extremity
Group e.: xtremiry shift, the.: the tendency for for group opinion to become more extreme. extreme: in
(he
the.: direction
dire.:ction ini tially fa
initially vore.: d by most individuals, is curren
F.tvore.:d currendy tly understood
unde.: rstood in terms
of trwo
WO mechanisms: rclevant rclevam arguments and social comparison (Brown , 1986, pp.
200-244). Relevant ;;Irguments
;trguments explains methe shift as a result of individuals hating
haring
arguments in d iscussion mal
new argumenls mat are biastd
biased in the initially favored d irection.
ireclion. Social
comparison explains the shift as a competition
compelilion For st:uus in which no one Wliints to
fa.i l behind in supporting me terror~
the group-favored direction. In the trajectory to terror-
ism. in ilial
ism, itial beliefs and commitments f:lvor action against
ag;;tinsl injustice. and group dis-
cussion and ingroup status competition move the group !award
slams compelition IOward more extreme
views and more extreme violence.
T he slippery slope is not something thar happens only in psychology experi-
ments and foreign counrries. Si nce September 11 . there w ere h;;lve
have already been sugges-
sugges·
tions From reputable people mal
dons mat U.S. securi!}'
security Forces may need 10 use tonure 10 gel get
inForm:uion from suspected lerrori$u . This is i$ the edge ofo( a slope thai leads down
and away from the rWe of l:aw law :and
and the presumption of innocence.

TerTorum as Strategy
Psychologists recogniu: [WO aggression. emotional :and
twO kinds of aggression, and instrumental.
Emotional aggression is associated
associ:ated with angcr
anger :and
and does not calculate
c:a1cu1:ne long-term
co ns~ uen
ucn ces
ces.. The rewud
reward of emotional :aggression
aggression is hurling
hurting someone who has
hun
hurt you. instrumenu.l
Instrumental :aggression
aggression is more a1cu1:ating-the
calculating-the use aggression as :aa
usc of :aggression
means
me2J1S to other ends. The ba.lance
balance between these twO in the behavior individual
beh:avior of individua.l
terrorists is usually nor clear
cle:lr and might usefully be studied morc
more explicitly in the
future.
furure. The ba.lance may be import2
balance m:ay important dctermining how to respond to terrorism:
nl in determining
As argued :above.
above. emotional aggression should be less sensitive to objcctive
cmotiona.l :aggression objective rew21ds
rewards
and
2J1d punishments. while instrument:Li
insuument:Li :aggression
aggression should be more sensitive.
course. tlJe
Of course, the balance may be very different in those who perpcU1lle
perpetrate the vio-
lence than in those who plan it. The planners are probably more instrumental
planners:are instfumcnta.l ; they
arc usually thinking about wh:at
are what they wanl
want to accomplish. They aim to infl ict long-
They:aim
cOSts on their enemy and to gain long-Ierm
term coSts long-term adv:antage
advantage (or
for themselves.

MAtnitJ DllmA,c
M"tnitJ DllmA,e to the Enemy
inflias immediate damage
Terrorism inflicts desu oying lives and property. bUI
dam:age in destroying but [er-
ter-
rorists hope iliat the long.
dI:a1 dIe long-term
term costs gra ter. They w:ant
COSts will be much grater. want to creare fear
Fear
and uncertainty
uncertain!}' far beyond me viclims victims and those dose ({ O0 Ihem.
them. They want their
enemy 10 to spend time :and and money on securi!)'.
security. In effect ., the lefforists
terrorists :aim
aim to lay an
cnormous lax
enormous tax on every :aspect
aspect of the enemy's society, :aa t2X that It:I.flsfefS
tax mat transfers resources
from product pu rposes [to0 anti-productive security
p roduct ive purposes measu rcs.
securi!}' me:asu res. The COS tS of
COStS of
increased security are
incre:ased securi!}' arc likely to be particularly high fo r a country like Ihe the United
States.
States, where an open sociery society is the found ation of ~onomi c succc$s and a high-
tech military.
[ech
The United States already paying enormous t2Xes
S[:ates is :a.lready taxes of this kind. Billions more
doU
do Uars
m arc2lC going to the FBI , the CIA, C IA. the Pentagon, dIethe National
Nuiona.l Securiry Agency.
Security Agency,
and
2nd :aa new bureaucracy fo r the director homeland securi!}'.
di rcctor of homel2J1d security. Billions arc going to
bailout theme airlines. to increase the number and 2nd quality airpon securi!}'
quali!}' of airport security person-
nel, 10
to pay methe N:ational
National Guard
G U21d stationed at :airpons.
s[uioned :at airports. The COSts to business
busi ness aaivity
aClivi!},
are perhaps even greater. Long lines :1.( airpon: security and fear of air travel
navel cur
business travel and holiday travel. Hotel bookings are down,
down , urban restaurant busi-
ness is down, all kinds of lOurist businesses are down. Long lines of trucks at the
MeriClln borders are slowed for more intensive searches, and the
Canadian and Merion
delays necessarily contribute to the COSt of goods transported. The Coast Guard
and the Immigration and Naturalization Service focus on terrorism and decrease
attention 10 the drug trade. I venture to guess that the costs
COSts of increased security
and the war on terrorism will farfa r OU(fun the costs of losses at the World Trade
Center and the reparations to survivors of those who died there.

PDliti~'" DIlWUlp tD tIN Enemy


In the longer term, the damage terrorism does docs 10 civil society may be: greater
than any dollar costs (see M cCauley, in press-b). T he respo nse to terro rism
inevitably builds the power of the state at 01.[ the expense of the civil society. The

thu "war is (he


adage thar the health of the state" is evident to ro anyone who uacks the
growth of the federal government in the United States. With evety war-me Civil
War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, me Gulf
Wu. and now the war against terrorism-the power of the government has grown
War,
nor relinq u.ished after the wu has ended. During
in directions and degrees that are not
World War II ., for example.
example, the income tax, which previously had applied only 10
high-income people, was imposed even on low-income people. The federal govern-
mem also introduced withholding 10 to mae
make it easier to collect tax money. After the
war, income taxes and tax withholding remained as a normal part of Amerio AmeriCllnn life
(H;gg<. 1987),
Polls taken in ye:us
yeus preceding the terro rist aruck on Septembe:r 11 indiote
indiCllte that
AmeriCllns
about half of adult Amerio the federal governmem as a threat [0
ns saw the: [ 0 the rights

and freedoms
frec:doms of ordinary Americans. No doubt fewer would say so in the after-
math of the recent atuclu, ad2ge that "war is the health
atDcIu. a shift consistent with the acl2ge
of the state.n But
Bu[ if more security could ensure:
ensure [he
the safety of the nation.
nation, the Soviet
Union would still be: with us. It is possible mat bin Laden had the Soviet Union in
mind in an interview broadcast by CNN. "Osama bin Laden tOld a reporrer reponer with
the AI Jazeera network in Octobe:r that 'freedom and human rights in America are
doomed' and that the U.S. government would lead itS people and the West ' imo into
an un bearable hell and a choking life'" (KurtZ,
(Kuru, 2002).

MDbi/U;i"X tIN 1"KN'llp


TerroristS particularly hope: to elicit a violent response that will assist them in
mobilizing their own people. A terrorist group is the apex of a pyramid of support-
ers and sympathizers. The base of the pyramid is composed of o( all those who sym-
th ~ terrorist cause even though they may disagree with the violent
pathize with the
pathize:
means that the terrorists use. In Nonhern Ireland, for instance, the base base: of the
the:
pyramid is all who agree:
agree with " BritS ut." In the islounic
Brits O Ut." Islounic wo rld,
rld. the base:
base of the
th ~ United Stares
pyramid is all those who agree that the States has been hurrillg ~"d humili-
ating Muslims for fifty yea.rs.
years. The pyramid is essential
c:ssc:ntial to the terroristS (or
for cover and
18 Tht PsythobJry o/Terrorism • Thtorttical UnderslanJi"panJ
Urukrslandi"p and Persptctivtl

for recruits. The terrorists hope that a clumsy and overgeneralized strike againsl
them will hit some of those in the pyramid below them. The blow will enlarge
their base of sympathy, tum the sympathetic
sym pathetic bUi un mobilized to action and sacri-
fice, and strengthen their own status as leaders al the apex of this pyramid.
AI-Qaeda had reason to be hopeful hopeful that U.S. strength could help them. In
1986, for instance, the United States attempted 10 10 reply to Libyan-supported ter-
rorism by bombing Libya's leader, Muammar Qaddafi. The T he bombs missed Qad-
dafi's
dafi 's residence but hit a nearby apaHmenr
apaHmem building and killed a number of women
children. This mistake was downplayed in the United States but it was a pub.-
and children.
lic relations
rclations success for anti-U.S. groups across North Africa. In 1998, the United
States attempted to reply to aI-Qaeda attacks on U.S. U.s. embassies in Africa by send-
cmist'. mi s.~i1e.~ against
ing cruise aga inst terrorist camps in Afghanistan and against a supposed
bomb faclOry in KhartoumKhartoum,, Sudan. It II appears now that the ~bo mb faCtory~ was in
fact producing only medical supplies.
A violent response 10 terrorism that is not well aimed is a success for the terror-
ists. The Taliban did their best to play up U.S. bombing mistakes in Afghanistan,
largcly disappointed.
but were largely d isappointed. It appears that civilian casualties resulting from U.S.
attacks
anacks in Afghanistan had by February 2002 added up to somewhere between
1,000 and 3,700 deaths, depending on who is estimating (Bearak, 2002). Although
Afghan civilian losses may thus approach the 3,000 U.S. victims of September II ,
clear that U.S. accuracy has betn
it is elear bew oUlStanding by the standards of modern war-
f.ue. Al-Qaeda might still hope to profit by perceptions of a crusade against Mus-
fue.
lims if the United States extends the war on terrorism to Iraq, Iran, or Somalia.

U.S. REAcnON TO SEPTEMBER 11: SOME ISSUES OF MASS


PSYCHOLOGY
this section I consider several psychological issues raised by the U.S. reaction to
In Ihis
the terrorist attacks of September 11. HHas
as the United States been terrorized?
terrorized? Wh"t
What
kinds of identity shifts may have occurred "frer
after September II ?

Fca.r After September 11


There seems little doubt that the events of September II , soon fo llowed by
another plane crash at Rockaway Beach, d id make Americans less willing to fly. In
earl
earlyy 2002, air travel "nd
and hotel bookings wete still significandy
significantly below levels record-
ed in the months before the attacks.
anacks. Beyond fear of flying,
flying, there is evidence that
Americans became generally more anxious and insecure. Some law fi tms rms s~cial
s~cjaliz­
iz­
ing in preparation of wills
wills and trusts saw a big increase in business after September
II. Gun sales were up in some places after September 11 II , suggesting a search for
increased security
securiry broader than against the threat of terrorism. Owning a gun may m"y
not be much help against terrorists, but, at least for some individuals, a gun can be
a symbol and reassurance of control and personal safety. Pet sales were also report-
cd up in some places. Again,
ed Again , a pet is nor likely to be much help against terro rists,
but, at least for fo r some individuals, a pet may be an antidote to uncertainry and fear.
A pet offers both an experience of control conrrol and the unconditional
the: reassurance of uncondiriona.l
positive regard (Beck & Ka Katcher,
tcher, 1996).
It is tempting to interp interpret ret a big decrease in air [lavel as evidence evid ence of o f a big
increase: in fear, ~~Ut
increase Ut it may be that even a small increase in fear an a n produce a larg~
dC(:rease in willingness to fly. fly . When the stakes are high, a small change in risk per-
ception can trigger a large decrease in willingness to bet. Indeed,
cep[ion Indeed , decreased willing-
ness 10 to fly nc:c:d
need not imply any incrc:a.sc: increase in fear.
fear. Some may have already a.lready been afraid
of flyi ng. and found Sepu:mber 11 11 not a scimulw
sumulus to increased fear but a justifica- jwtifica-
lion fo r fears---or fo r acting on fears-thlu
[ion fears-thlu had been previously ridiculed and sup-
pressed. Thus there may be only a minority with incrc:a.sc:d increased fear of flying after Sep-
tember 11. II. Myers (2001 (200 1)) offered fo ur research generaliu genera.liu tions abo about ut perceived risk
that can help explain increasro increased fear fea r of flying after September II . We are biological-
pn:p:ued to fear heights. we fear p:l.nicularl
ly pn:p:l.red what ~ annot
particularlyy whu cannot conuol,
control, we fear
immediate more than long-term and cumulative
immedi:l.te cumuluive dangers, :and :l.nd we exaggerate dan-
gers represented in vivid and memorable images. All of these: in influences
fluences can help
explain fear of fl ying, bur o nly the last can explain why fear of flying increased :l.fter after
September 11 . Fear of heights preceded September I I, every passenger gives up
control on emering :a:I. plane. and the immediate risk of climbing o nto :I.a plane is lit-
affC(:ted by four or five crashes in :I.a brief period of time.
tle :l.ffC(:ted
Myers notes.
nO[(!5, however, that th:l.l the risks of air ai r travel are largely concentrated in the
minutes of takeoff and landing. This is a framing issue: Do :l.ir air t1'2velers
travelers see their
risk in terms of deaths de:l.ths per passenger mile-wh ich makes air t1'2vel travel much safer than
wer th:l.n
d riving----()r do they sec: the risk as deaths per minute of lakeoff takeoff and landing? With
the laner travel may be objectively more risky than d rivi
fra ming, air t1'2vel
lau er framing. ng.
riving.
Still, Myers may be correct focusing on the importance of television images
corr« t in focwing
of planes slicing into the World T Trade
1'2de Center, but the importance
imporlance of these images
may have more to do with control comrol of fear and norms about expressing fear than
with the level of fea r. Myers reportS a Gallup that. even before Sep-
indicating that,
Ga.llu p poll indica.ring
tember 11,4411 ,44 percent of those willing 10 fly were willing to ro admit they felt fearful
about
abo flying. It is possible that this fear is controlled by a cognitive appraisal th:1I
ut flying.
fl ying is safe, and the images of planes crashing interfere with this appraisal. T his
interpretation is similar 10 the "safety frame" fram~" explanation of how people can enjoy
the fear arousal associated
usociated with riding a roller coaster or watch watching ing :ita horror film
(MoGul",. 1998.).
If the safety ft2 ft:t me is disturbed, the fear controls behavior and, in the case casc of air
travel, people are less willing 10 fly
Havel, fl y.. O ne implication of this rhis interpretation is that,
for at least some individuals,
individuals. government warnings of additional terrorist attacks in
the near future would make no difference in the level of fear experienced-vivid
crash images may m:lly release
relc:a.sc: the latent fear no matter what me the objective
obj« tive likelihood. of
additional
addi tiona.l crashes.
Acting on the fear experienced is a separate issue. It is possible that warnings of
futu
fu turere terrorist attacks affect the norms of acti actingng o n fear of flying, that is, the warn-
ings reduce socialsoci:al pressure to carry ca.rry o n business as w us ua.l
ual and reduce ridicule fo r
those who arc furful about flying. Fear of flying is an attitude, and there is no
doubt that social norms have much [0 do with determining when attitudes arc
expressed in behavior (Ajun & Fishbein, 1980).
Indeed, the impact of government warnings and increased airpon security arc
very much in need of investigation. President Bush was in the position of trying to
thai they should resume flying and that new airport s«urity
tell Americans that security made
flying safe again, even as security agencies issued multiple warnings of new terrorist
attacks. These warnings had the peculiar quality of being completely unspecific
about the nature of the threat or what to do about it. The possible downside of
such warnings is suggested by research indicating that threat appeals to be
are likely [0
appca.ls arc
repressed or ignored if the appeal elfccti~ action [0
appca.l docs not include specific and elfcct:ive to
avoid the threat (Sabini, 1995,
1995 , pp. 565-
565-566).
566) . Even the additional airpon security
may be of dubious value. It is true that many Americans seemed rcusured rC3S$ured to see
Army personnel with weapons stationed in airports, although the objective obj ecti~ security
value of u oops with no tDining in s«urity screening is by no means obvious. BUI But
value [0 the framing interpretation of increased fear offered above,
if there is any vaJue
then adding military security at airpons
airports may actually increase fcar.
fear . Vivid images of
airporu may be more likely [0
armed troops at airpons to undermine than [0 augment the
safety fnme
frame that controls fear of Rying.
Differences in security procedures from one airpon to another can aJso also con-
journalisr from Pittsburgh ca.lled
tribute [0 increased fear. A journalist called me not
nOI long after new
security procedures were introduced at U.S. airports.
airporu. His paper had received a let- leI-
ter to the editor
edilor written
wrinen by a visitor ITom Florida, a letter excoriating the Pittsburgh
security. T he writer had been frightened becawc
airpon for inadequate s«urity. bccawc she was
asked for identification only once on her way to boarding her return Aight from
Pittsburgh , whereas she had been stopped. for fo r identification five times in boarding
the Florida flight to Pittsburgh.
Fear of flying is nO( the only fear to emerge from September 11 . Survivors of
attacks on the World TDde Center
the al[acks Cem er (WrC), those who fled for their lives on
September 11 , may be furful of working in a high-rise building and afraid afnid even of
all the pans of lower Manhattan thaI that were associated with commuting to and from
wrc. Many corporate
the wrc. corpota,te employees who escaped. the wrc wrc returned to work in
new office buildings in nonhern
northern New Jersey. In these new scnings, some may have
retr"awnatized by frequent fire
been retr"awnatizcd fir~ .and
and evacuation ddrills
rills that associated their new
offices and stairwells with the uncenainties and fears of the offices and stairwells of
wrC. For these
the wrC. these: people. the horror of the wrc may have been a kind of one-
trial traumatic conditioning experiment, with follow-up traini ng in associating
training
their new workplace with the o ld one. Their experience and their feats fears deserve
research attention.
A small step in this direction was a December conference at ,he the University of
Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitica.l
Ethnopolitical Conflict. The
conference bbrought
rought lOgether eight trauma counselors ftom from around the United
Stales
States who had been brought in [to wrc corpol;lte
0 assist wrc corpor;lte employees returning (0 to
work in new office spaccs. repon of lessons learned from this conference is in
spaces. A tepon
preparation,
preparation. but a few issues can already be discerned. Perhaps most important is
that th~ counselors w~r~ selected and direcred by corporat~ Employee Assistance Ass istanc~
Programs with mo m o r~ cxperi
experi ~ nc~ of physical h ~al
~alth
th probl ~ ms than of m~ntal health
Thus the counselors we r~ all eontractt'd to we Critical
problems. Thw C ritical Incident Stress
Debriding techniques with every individual and every group seen; at last official official--
ly. no room W3S left for a counselor to exercise independent judgmem about abo ut what
approach might best suit a particular simation.
silUation.
Similarly. the counselors were understood as int~rchangeabl
Similarly, int~rchangea bl e resources. so that a
coun5<:lor
couns<:lor might be sent to one corporation on one day and a different corporation
th ~ n~Xf
the n ~Xf day. counselo r expe
d ay. even as another counselor ex pe ri~ nced the reverse transfer. The T he
importance oflearning a particular corporate culrure and setting, the personal con-
nection between individual counselor
counselo r and the managers that conuol control that setting,
the trust developed between an individual counselocounselorr and individuals needing assis-
tance and referral in that setting- these were given little attention in the organiu-
of counseling assistance. It appears that the experience of counselors working
tion of
wrc survivors
with wrc survivo rs has not yet been integrated with the experience of those
working with survivors of o f the Oklahoma
O klahoma C ity bombing (Pf~ff~ r baum
City ba um , Flynn,
Brandt, & Lensgraf. 1999). There is a long way to go to develop anything like: like a
consensw
consensus on "001 practice" for for assisdng survivors of such attacks.
In sum, fear after September II includes a range of fear reactions. including fear f~ar
of flying by those with no personal connection to the: the wrC.
wrC. moremor~ general fears
anxi~ries associatt'd with death from unconrrnll.:lble
and anxieties unconrrnll.:lble and unprt'dictable terrorist
workplace fears among those who escaped the
attacks. and specific workplace: wrc attacks.
th~ wrc am cks.
These reactions offer theoretical ch all~nges
all~n ges that can be of in teres I 10
to those inte:
inre r~S[­
r~st­
ed in understanding the relation between risk appraisal and fea fearr (Lazarus. 199 1), as
well as 10 those interested in the commercial implicalions of public fears.

Aner September 11: Patriotism


Cobesion After
All over the United Stales, vehicles and homes were decorated with the U.S. flag
Allover
Sept~m be r 11.
after September 11 . Walls, fen ces, billboards, and e-mails were emblazoned with
fences,
MGod Bless America." It II is clear that the immediate response to the attacks W3S a
sudden increase in patriotic expression. The distribution of this increase across the
United States could be a matter of some interest. Was Ihe the new palriotism grt2ter
greater in
New York CityC ity and declining in concentric circles of distance from New Yo rk~
Was it greater among blue-collar than white-collar families~F.unjlies~ Was it greater for some
elhnic groups than fo forr oth ers~ Was it greater
greate.r in cities. possibly perceived as more
threatened by future lerrorisl altacks. than in suburbs and small towns?
The
T he attacks of September II represent a natural experiment relevam (Q to two
prominem
prominent approaches to conceptualizing
conceptualiz.ing and me.asuring
measuring patriotism. In the first
approach.
approach . Koslerman and Feshbach (1989) (1 989) ddisti nguish between patriotism and
istinguish
nationalism. Patriotism is love of country and is generally accounted a good thing;
nalionalism. th ing;
nationalism is a feeling of national superiority
superiori ty that is accounted a source of inter-
group hostiliry
hosriliry and conflict. In the second
sc<:ond approach, Schan,
Schan , Staub, and Lavine
(1 999) offer a distinction between comtruct;lJ~
(1999) constructilJ~ and blind patriotism. Construct;lJ(
patriotism refers to love of COUntry expressed as willingness (Q to criticize its policies
and its leaders when these go wrong; blind patriotism refers to love of country cou-
pled with norms against c ritid s m-~ my country right or wro ng." Constructive
patriotism is here accounted the good thing and blind patriotism the danger.
ap proaches distinguish between good and bad forms
Thus, both approaches fo rms of patriotism,
and both offer separate measures of the good and bad forms. That is. there is a
scale of patriotism and a scale of nationaJism. and a scale of constructive
conslructive patriotism
and a scale of blind patriotism. In both bom approaches.
app roaches. there is some evidence that the
twO scales are relatively independent. Some individ uals uaJs score nigh on patriotism,
for instance. but low on nationalism. Similarly.
Similarl y. some individuals score high on
constructive patriotism but aJso score high on blind patriotism (an inconsistency
mat seems to bother
that bomer those answering questions
q uestions less than
man it bothers theorists).
What happened to these different aspects of patriotism
palriotism among Amerians
Americans after
September II I I ? A!l increased cohesion is known 10 to increase conformi ry and pressure
deviatcs. one might expect that patriotism. blind patriotism, and nationaJism
on deviates.
increased. whereas
whefC2S constructive patriotism decreased. AnOlher Another possibiliry is that
mat
scores on these measures were unchanged after September II . but identifiatio identificationn
with the country increased in relarion ro other directions of group idcmifiation.
identification.
That is. Americans
Amerians rating the impolUllce of each of a number of groups--country.
cthnic group. rcligiOll~
ethnic rel igiOll~ group. family, school-might
school-m ight rate coumry higher in rela·
ra te COUntry
[ion to other groups.
It seems likc:ly that both kinds of patriotism increased. both scores on [he paui-
odsm sca.les
scales and ratings of the: the rdative imponance of country. If so, additional
questions can be raised. Did nationaJism and blind patriotism increase more or less
than the -good" forms of patriotism? Was the pamrn pattern of change different by grog-
rap hy, education. or ethnicity?
raphy,

Cohesion
CohesioD After September II : ReJac..ioru
ReJatioru iniD Public
News repom immediately after September II I I suggested a new interpersonal
interpersonal
tone in New York City. C ity. Along with shock and fear was a new lOne in public inter-
actions of strangers.
stra ngers. a tone ofo f increased po liteness, helpfulness. and personal
warm th. Several reporu
warmth. repom suggested a notable
nouble ddrop
rop in crime:.
crime. especiaJly violent crime.
crime:.
in the days after the anacks.
It would be interesting to know if these reports can be substantiated with more
objective measures or social behavio r in public places (McCauley, Coleman, &
DeFusco, 1978). Did the pace oflife in New York slow after the attacks? auacks ~ That is.
did people walk slower on me su ters? Did
streets? e:ye contact between strangers increase?
D id eye
Did commerciaJ transactions (e.g.• with ponal clerks, supermarket
wirh bus drivers, postal
cashie:rs) indude
cashiers) include more personaJ exchange? Did interpersonaJ distance distance: in interac-
tions of Strangers decrease? This research will be hampered by the absence of rele-
nrange:rs de:cre:ase?
vant measures fro fromm New York in Ihe months before Seprember II I I,. but it may nO[
not
be tOO late to chart a decline
de:dine from levels of public sociability
sociabil ity and polile:ness
politeness that
still have been elevated in early 2002.
may sdll
Cohesion After September 11: Minoriry Identiry Shifts
A few reports have suggested that minority groups experienced major changes of
group identity after September II. Group identity is composed of twO partS: pri-
vate and public identity. Private identity is how the individual thinks of him- or
herself in relation to groups to which the individual belongs. Public identity is how
the individual thi nks others perceive him.

/tkntity Shift for Muslims and Arabs


Public Itknrity
T he attacks of September II produced an immediate effect on the public iden-
tity of Arabs, Muslims, and rhose, like Sikhs, who can be mistaken by Americans
fo r Arab or Muslim. Actual violence against members of these groups seems merci-
fully to have been rare, with thiery-nine
thi rry-nine hate crimes reported to the New York City
Police Department in the rhe week ending September 22 but only one a week by the
end of December (Fries, 2001). Much more frequent has been the experience of
dirry looks, mumred suggestions of "go home," physical distancing, and discrimi-
dirty
nation at work and school
school (Sengupta, 200 1). Many Arab Americans and Muslims
say they have afraid to report this kind of bias.
American reactions to Muslims and Arabs
Ara bs after September 11 pose a striking the-
oretical challenge. How is it that the actions of nineteen Arab Muslims can affect
American perceptions of the Arabs and Muslims that they encounter? encounter? The ease
with which the nineteen were generalized to an impression of millions should leave
us ama7.cd; "rhe law of small numbers" (Tversky & Kahneman, 197
ama7.ed; "[he 1971),
1), in which
small and unrepresentative samples arc are accepted as representative of large popula-
tions, has not been observed in research on stereotypes. Indeed, the difficulty of
changing stereotypes has often been advanced as one of their principal dangers.
Of course, nOt
not every American accepted the idea that all Arabs are
arc terrorists, but
even those who intellectually avoided this generalization sometimes found them-
selves fi ghting a new unease and suspicio
suspicionn toward people who looked Arab.
Whether on the street oorr boarding a plane, Americans seem to have had difficulty
controlling their emotional response to this newly salient category. It seems unlike-
ly Ihat
that an attack by nineteen Congolese terro rists would have the same impact on
perceptions of African Americans. Why nOI? not?
One possible explanation of the speed and power of the group generalization of
the September II terrorists is that humans are biologically prepared to essentialize
cultural differences of members of unfamiliar groups. Gil-White (200
cultural (20011)) has sug-
gested that there was an evolutionary advantage for individuals who recognized and
generalized cultural differences so as to avoid the extra costs of interacting with
those whose norms did not mesh with local norms. This perspective suggests suggestS that
we may have a kind of defauh schema for group perception that makes it easy to
essentialize
essential ize the characteristics of a few individuals encountered from a new group.
To essentialize means to see the unusual characteristics of the new individuals as
the product of an unchangeable group nature or essence. Previous fam iliarity with
the group. a pre-existing essence for the group, could interfere with this default ,
such that African terrorists would not easily lead to a generalization abom African
Americans.
It would be useful
useful to know more abo ut the experience of Muslims and Arabs in
about
the United Slates
States after September 11, not least because those experiencing bias
may become more likely to sympathize with terrorism directed against the United
States, Imerviews and polls might inquire not only abo ut the respondent's personal
experience of bias, but about the respondent's perception of what most in his or
experienced. As elaborated above, the motivation for violence may have
her group experienced.
to do with group experience than with personal problems.
more 10

hhlic Identity
IJentity Shift for Africll"
Africlln AmericAns
The attacks of September 11 may also have produced an effect on the public
identity of African Americans.
Americans. Their sharing in the costs and threats of terrorist
au ack may have strengthened their public Slams
an stams as Americans.
Americans. Several African
Americans have suggested that the distancing and unease they often feel from fro m
whites with whom they interact was markedly diminished after September 11 . The
extent and distribution of this feeling of incrased acceptance by white Americans
could be investigated in interviews with African Americans. Again, the distinction
between personal experience and perception of group experience could be impor-
tant in estimadng the political impact of September lion li on African Americans.
Finally, there is an issue of great practical importance in understanding the pub-
lic identity of Muslim African Americans as a minority within a minority. This
group is likely to have faced conflicting changes after September II , with increased
acceptance as African Americans opposed by decreased acceptance as Muslims. Muslims. The
distinctive attire of African American Muslims, particularly the attireanire of women of
this community, makes them readily identifiable in public settings.
settings. With the attire
goes a community lifestyle that also sets this minority apart from other African
Americans. Thus
T hus public reactions to Muslim African Americans should be very
salient in their experience, and this experience could be determined by researchers
with entree to their community. Again, the distinction between personal experi-
respo ndent and perceived group experience may be important.
ence of the respondent
One
O ne way of learning about shifts in the public identities of minorities is to study
changes in the mutual stereotyping of majority and minority. Stereotypes are today
understood as perceptions of probabilistic differences
generally undemood diffe rences between groups,
differences that may include personality traits, abilities, occupations.
occupations, physique,
clothing, and preferences (McCauley, Jussim , & Lee, 1995).
clothing, 1995). T Thus,
hus, researchers
might ask both minority and majority group members about abom whether and how
September II changed their perceptions of the differences between berween majority and
minority.
Perhaps even more important for understanding the public identity of minori-
ties would be research that asks about mnasurtorypes.
mnasurtotypn. MetaStereorypes are percep-
tions of what "most people~ believe about group differences. Although they are lit- li[-
tie studied, there is some evidence that metastereotypes are more extreme than per-
tle
sonal stereotypes, that is, that individuals believe that most people see stronger
PIJChoiogic41luueJ in UnJuJunJing
Pl]fhQiQgi€"iiuueJ UndnJunding Tn'NIrism
Tn-rorism and
anJ the Retponu to T","orimr 25

ingroup-outgroup differences than thlJ' do (Rem_ ow, Billman, & Davis, 1993) . T
The
he
public identity of the minority might thus be measured as the average minority
individual's perception of what "most people~ in the majority group see as the dif-
fuences berween minori[)-· and majority. ReI:tled
Related metastereotypes might also be of
interest: [he
the average minority individual's perception
percept ion of what most minority mem-
bers believe about majority-m inority differences, the average majority member's
majority- minority
perception of what most majority members
perccption members believe about these differences, and the
average.: majority member's perception of what most minority members membe rs believe
about these ditferences.
The attacks of September 11 and their aftermath offer a natural experiment in
conflicting pressures on public identity.
idcntity. Research
Rescarch on public identitieS of minorities
could enliven
enliveo theorctical
theoretical development
dcvclo pment even as the research con
contributes
tributes to gauging
the potential for terrorist recru itment in groups-Muslim Arabs in the United
States. Musl im Africao
African Americans-that security services arc likely to see as being
at firisk
:It sk tor terrorist sympathies. In panicular, public identity shifts for Muslim
African Americans will be bener better understood
undersrood by comparison with whatever shifts
shifts
may obtain for African Americans who arc oor not Muslim.

Private Idn uity Shifu


Private identity concerns
conccrns the beliefs and feelings
feel ings of the individual abom
aboU( a group
to which the individual belongs. The most obvious shifts in private iden idemity
ti ty arc
those al ready d iscussed as shifts in pauiotism. Pauiod Pauiodsm
sm is a panicular
particular kind of
group identification. that is, is. identification with country or nation, and increases in
patriotism arc :l:l kind of private identity shift. This obvious connection between
patriotism has only rect:ndy
national identification and pauiOlism recently become
become:la focus of empirical
Wong. & Duff. 200 1; Sidanius & Petrocik,
research (Citrin, Wong, Petrocik. 200 1).
Here I want to focus on shifts in private identities of minorities. N; with public
idcntity shifts, the three minority groups of sp(:cial interest are Muslim Arabs living
thc United S tatc.~,
in the [atc.~, African Americans, and Muslim African Americans. For each
group. research ,an ask about changes since September 11 II in their fL"Clings to\'r.lrd
toward
the united
u nited States and feelings toward their minority group. group. What is the relation
bL·rween changes in these two private identities? It is by no means obvious that
more attachment [0 to one identity means less attachment to others, but in terms of
behavior there may be something of a conservation principle at work. Time and
energy are limited, :lOd more behavior controlled by one identity may mean Ics.~ l cs.~
behavior controlled by others. T There
here is much yetyct to be learned about the rdation
rd ation
bt:twcen more
between morc particularistic identities, includ
includinging ethnic and rel
religio
igious
us idemiti(:s.
identitil's,
and overarching
overarehing national identity.

Group Dynamics Theory and Political Identity


Public reaction to tt:rrorist
terrorist attacks is strikingly consistent with results fo found
und ill
rcscarch with small
rcsearch sman face-to-met
face-to-f.t,c groups. In the group dynamics liter:lture
liter:ltuft.' that began
with Festinger·s
Fcstinger·s (1950) theory of informal social influence, cohesion is attachment
an<l.chment
26 Tbeoreri(1Ii UndersunJingJ IZnJ Perspttti"tJ
The Pty(bology of Terrorism + Tbtortti(1Ii Persp«rilJtJ

ro the group that comes from £wo kinds of interdependence. The obvious kind of
interdependence arises from common goals of material interest, statuS, status, and conge-
niality. The hidden interdependence arises from the need for certainty that can
niality.
only be obtained from the consensus of others. Agreement with those around us is
the only source of certainty about questions of value, including questions about abo ut
good and evil and about what is worth living for, for, working fo r, and dying for.for.
h seems possible that identification with large and faceless groups is analogous
to cohesion in small face-co-face
face-to-face groups (McCauley, 2001 2001;; McCauley, in press-a).
A suled-up theory of cohesion leads immediately to the implication that grou groupp
identification is not one thing but a number of related things. Research has shown
that differen
differentt sources of cohesion lead to different kinds of behavior.behavior. C Cohesion
ohesion
based on congeniality, for instance, leads to groupthink.
groupthink, whereas cohesion based on
group status or material interest does not lead to groupthink (McCauley, 1998b).
Similarl y, different sources of ethnic identification may lead to different behav-
Similarly.
iors. Individuals who care about their ethnic group for status or material interest
may be less likely to sacrifice for the group than individuals who care abo about
ut their
group for its social reality value-for the moral culture that makes sense of the
world and the individual 's place in it. Research on the effects of September li on
group identities might try to link different measures of group identification with
different behaviors after September II: giving blood or money. money, community volun-
tct:r
teer work, revising a will, changing travel plans.
plans, spending more time with family. family.
The distinctions be£ween patriotism and nationalism.
nationalism, and be£ween constructive
and blind patriotism,
patriotism. as cited above, are steps in this di
direction.
rection.
Group dynamics research has shown that shared threat is a particularly potent
source of group cohesion; similarly, as discussed above,above. the threat represented by
the September II attacks seems to have raised U.S. U.S. patriotism and national identi-
fication. Research also shows that high cohesion leads ro accepting group norms, norms.
respect for
fo r group leaders, and pressure on deviates (Duckiu, 1989). 1989). Similarly, U.S.
response
respo nse ro the September II attacks seems to have included new respect for group
norms (less crime, more politeness), new respect for group It:adersIt.-aders (President Bush,
Mayor G iuliani), and new willingness to sanction deviates (hostility toward those
who sympathize with Arabs and Muslims; see sec Knowlton
Knowlton,, 2002) .

CONCLUSION

In the first
fi rst part of this paper.
paper, group dynamics theory was the perspective brought
to bear in understanding the power of cause .md comrades in moving normal peo-
ple to terrorism.
terro rism. In particular I suggested that the power of a group to elicit sacri-
fice
fice depends upon its terror-management val value.
ue, which is another way of tallcing
about the social reali
reality
ty value of the group.
G roup dynamics research and the psychology of cohesion also provide a useful
Group
starting point foforr theorizing about [he origins and consequences of group identifi-
cation, including many aspectS of public reaction [Q to terrorism. T
Terrorism
errorism is a threat
to all who idemify with the group ra rgcted.rgeted. and at least the initial
initial result of
or an
attack is lllways
lways increased ididentifica tion-increased
ent ificati co hesion- in the group
on-increased cohesion-in grou p
:It(:I.cked. T he no
:Itl:l.cked . The n-obvious qual
non-obvious iry or
qualiry of this idea is conveyed by the many unsucc("Ss-
fu
rull anemplS to use ai r power 10 demoralize
demoraliz.e an enemy by bombing its civilian popu-
lation (Pape, 1996).
In sum. 1 I have argued that both origins and effeclS
eFreelS of terrorist acts
aCtS are anchored
in group dy namics. Along the way I have tried to suggest how the response to ttef-
dynamics. ef-

rorism can be morc more dlngcrous


dange rous than the terrorists.

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