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Violent extremists are not psychopathic

12 February 2017


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Decades of research has uncovered that terrorists are neither schizophrenic, depressed, anxious or psychopathic, but simply experiencing a mental motivational imbalance, it was revealed on day one of the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai. Professor Arie Kruglanski, Distinguished Professor of Psychology from the University of Maryland said extremism, whether geared towards the far right or left, is a wilful deviation from general norms of conduct, driven by a motivational imbalance, where everything performed because of that motivation becomes permissible.

Decades of research has uncovered that terrorists are neither schizophrenic, depressed, anxious or psychopathic, but simply experiencing a mental motivational imbalance, it was revealed on day one of the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai.

Professor Arie Kruglanski, Distinguished Professor of Psychology from the University of Maryland said extremism, whether geared towards the far right or left, is a wilful deviation from general norms of conduct, driven by a motivational imbalance, where everything performed because of that motivation becomes permissible.

“Psychologists have determined that humans have several basic needs, such as the need for love, safety, respect, achievement and survival,” said Prof. Kruglanski. “However, there are mutual constraints of each need on the other, but if one need becomes dominant everything else is pushed aside and human behaviours cease to be constrained.”

Presenting the imbalance in the case of violent extremism, Prof. Kruglanski highlighted an overriding commitment to significance, perpetrated by a violent narrative and validated by a shared network.

“We know that the human mind is malleable so combating violent extremism is reversible but for that to happen, governments need to focus policies and education that reduce feelings of insignificance, through counter and deradicalisation programmes, while discrediting violence, and identifying alternative routes to significance, through anti-violence networks,” he added.