• Evolutionary Psychology and Terrorism

      Taylor, Max; Roach, Jason; Pease, Ken; University of Derby (Routledge, 2016-08-24)
      The origins of this volume of collected papers lie in a series of concerns, perhaps not of great moment in themselves, but sufficient to suggest a general sense of unease about progress towards the understanding of terrorism and the terrorist. The first issue is recognition of how meagre is the contribution of psychology to that enterprise. Before the events of 9/11, terrorism was certainly recognized as a problem, but the academic response to it was limited and the topic attracted relatively few researchers from a narrow range of disciplines; there were even fewer researchers with a discipline base in psychology. Since 9/11 there has been an enormous outpouring of generously funded research, spawning papers and comment by scholars from a much wider range of disciplines. Arguably little of substance has emerged. Sageman (2014) critically commenting on the state of terrorism research, asserted that ‘……we are no closer to answering the simple question of “What leads a person to turn to political violence?” We concur. The factors that may be associated with engagement in terrorism are doubtless complex. They may be idiosyncratic, socially and or politically determined, or religiously motivated. Personally expressed reasons may be fundamental or incidental. The mosaic of reasons will vary over time. While we wallow in our ignorance, rates of recruitment into terrorism provide a striking metric suggesting that Sageman was indeed correct in his diagnosis.