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Chapter 3: “Motives that Don’t Meet the Eye: Psychological Reasons for Terrorism”

A debate exists among scholars whether terrorism results from spontaneous acts of aggression or from rational calculations. Concepts such as “incident of birth,” “chosen trauma,” and “temptation and intimidation,” and the classification of terrorists into the categories of crusaders, crazies, and criminals can explain much about terrorism. Terrorism can be analyzed according to the “situation,” the “reasons,” and the “role of the individual.” Certain personal traits characterize “successful” terrorists.

Web Resources

What Makes a Suicide Bomber Tick?

Visit the Library and read two interesting articles about the possible motivations for the individual suicide bomber.

Source: Kruglanski, A. W., Chen, X., Dechesne, M., Fishman, S., & Orehek, E. (2009). Fully committed: Suicide bombers’ motivation and the quest for personal significance. Political Psychology, (3), 331.


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