Psychology of Terrorism

For an effective counterterrorism program, it is important to understand the underlying motivations and cognitive perspectives of terrorists. Please answer the following questions:

1. Vaisman-Tzachor (2006) describes attributes that are part of a psychological profile of a terrorist. Discuss whether these attributes are consistent with Osama Bin Laden’s character.

2. Describe historical and sociocultural antecedents to September 11. For this question, focus on the historical and cultural factors (e.g. attitudes about value of life, political viewpoints, religion, etc) that contributed to how and why the attack happened?

3. The results of studies have has been inconsistent regarding whether terrorists are mentally ill. Silke (2004) reported that the majority of research found that terrorists were not mentally ill and explained reasons for the differences in study results. What were those differences? Explain whether you agree or disagree with Silke why people become terrorists?


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