Creating Terrorists Using Social Psychological Conditioning

2469 words - 10 pages

Creating Terrorists Using Social Psychological Conditioning
Terrorism has been significantly on the rise over the past several years, making it one of the major concerns for governments and security organizations. The identity of terrorists and the activities perpetrated by them have been associated with certain races, religious affiliations and other geographical parameters, with little concern to understand the development of these characteristics among humanity. Most individuals have classified terrorists as being members of specific races and hence developed fallacious theories that associate terrorism with genetic makeup and other mental problems.
Terrorism is however not brought about by mental breakdown or genetic makeup of its perpetrators. Terrorism can be classified as a cult that develops gradually and instills different perceptions to the minds of its followers (Stahelski 1). Terrorism can be easily created using social psychological condition, one of the common processes in psychology for altering human reasoning and behavior.
Just like any cult, terrorism has several stages that a follower must undergo before becoming a fully established terrorist. Under the social psychological conditioning theory, there are five phases that a terrorist must go through before becoming a complete radical (Siegel 123). The phases in social psychological conditioning fit very well with the cultic condition present in terrorism.
Under the social psychological conditioning, the first phase entails depluralization, which is followed by self-deindividualization, then other-deindividualization, dehumanization and lastly demonization. These five phases are applicable to terrorism in the order they appear in social psychological conditioning.
The first phase in creating a terrorist is depluralization, which entails removing all prior identities of other group members previously affiliated to the recruit. When an individual accepts to join terrorism, the first phase entails distancing and stripping away all other previously affiliated groups including families, friends and other people previously affiliated to him or her (Siegel 235). The essence of depluralization is to alienate the recruit and prepare for new ideologies, teachings and beliefs.
Under the depluralization process, the joiners are encouraged to disregard all other beliefs and identities previously attached and affiliated to them. The phase becomes more effective if it is conducted in isolation. Isolation helps in creating a different environment that enhances change of mentality, perceptions and practices. In addition, isolation enhances the ability of terrorist tutors to develop new ideas and concepts that would make the joiners forget and disregard their past.
When joiners are stripped of their former practices and detached from groups they were formerly affiliated to, they remain with a void that should be filled before the joiners revisit their former groups. This means that...

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