Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Terrorism and Politically Motivated Violence, Psychological Theories of

  • Shuki J. Cohen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_250


Politically motivated intimidation and violence against individuals or groups has been a prominent element in practically every account of human history. Conversely, attempts to understand the underlying motivations and causes for certain behaviors in general, and violent acts in particular, are arguably equally prominent in the history of human intellectual interests. Therefore, tracing the developments in the psychological understanding of terrorism and political violence is, in effect, tracing the history of psychology itself vis-à-vis social dynamics and violence. This review attempts to survey the development in modern psychological understanding of the complex phenomena of terrorism and political violence – phenomena that are still far from consensual definitions, research methodologies, and integrative conceptualizations (e.g., Schmid and Jongman 1988; Schmid 1997). The survey follows closely the history of psychology rather than related disciplines, or some that...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA