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Transcript
EVIL, TERRORISM, TORTURE, AND OTHER
BAD STUFF
WHAT IS “EVIL”?
Bandura: moral disengagement
 Zimbardo: intentionally behaving or causing others
to act in ways that demean, dehumanize, harm,
destroy, or kill innocent people
 Staub: intensely harmful actions, which are not
commensurate with instigating conditions and the
persistence or repetition of such acts
 Baumeister: threatened egotism
 Buss: causing reproductive harm to other and
especially to those close to us

TERRORISM
“Politically motivated violence perpetrated by
individuals, groups, or state sponsored agents (?)
intended to instill feelings of terror and
helplessness in a population to influence decision
making and change behavior” (Moghaddam,
2005)
 To get political objectives, threatened or real
violence (Saucier et al., 2009)
 “Indiscriminate use of force”, political agenda,
spreading fear (Kruglanski et al., 2011)

BACKGROUND
How are terrorists different from normal
people?
 What do people generally believe causes
terrorism?
 How do people think terrorists are made?
 What do countries and people seem to think
will help?

WHAT DOES SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY HAVE TO
SAY?
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Bandura—Lacey, Brendan
Zimbardo—Olivia, Lily
Gibson & Haritos-Faturos—Tory
Moghaddam—Lee
Saucier et al.—Jenna
Kruglanski et al.—Manny
Ginges et al.—Salomi
What causes terrorism?
What encourages it?
How can it be reduced/halted?
BANDURA, 2004
Moral justification
 Palliative comparison
 Euphemistic labeling
 Displacement and diffusion of responsibility
 Minimizing, ignoring, or misconstruing the
consequences
 Dehumanization, attribution of blame

ZIMBARDO, 2004
Anonymity
 Reduced concerns about self-evaluation
 Obligation/roles
 Semantics
 Propaganda, education
 Provided justifications
 Small steps
 Diffusion of responsibility
 Exit difficult

GIBSON & HARITOS-FATOUROS, 1986
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Normal people with appropriate attitudes
Initiation rites, new social order, rules
In-group language and rules, feel “special”
Dehumanize victims
Harassment in in-group so can’t think
Reward obedience
Social modeling
Systematic desensitization to acts (small steps)
Carrots and sticks
Education against outgroup
MOGHADDAM, 2005
What causes terrorism, according to M?
 Floor 1: perceptions of fairness, procedural
justice

 Contextualized
democracy (Arab spring)
Floor 2: displacement of aggression
 Floor 3: moral disengagement
 Floor 4: categorical thinking, legitimacy of org*
 Floor 5: distance from outgroup, act

THEMES FROM SAUCIER ET AL., 2009
Necessity of extreme measures
 Absolve responsibility
 Use of military terminology
 Perception that group is being held back
 Glorifying the past of one’s group
 Utopianizing
 Catastrophizing
 Supernatural assumptions

Feel need to purify world from evil
 Glorification of dying for the cause
 Duty to kill
 Use of immoral acts okay to get to goals
 Seeing intolerance, vengeance, and war as good
 Dehumanization
 Modern world = bad
 Civil government as illegitimate

KRUGLANSKI, SHARVIT, & FISHMAN, 2011

Individual level:
 Not
relative deprivation
 Quest for personal significance
 Trauma
 Ideology,
sense of duty
 Deviance justification
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Group level
Social support, friend/family networks, online networks
 Shared reality/less contact with outsiders
 Language for own and other groups
 Public commitment
 Authority that they listen to and not think on their own
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Organization-level:
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Rational choice given their means
GINGES, ATRAN, SACHDEVA, & MEDIN, 2011
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Sacred values
Not education, poverty
Friendship and family networks
Perceived foreign meddling
Sense of national humiliation
Frustrated expectations
Social marginalization
Commitment to ingroup and values
Group cohesion, peer support
“Logical” when thinking about diplomacy, not violence
WAYS TO DECREASE/PREVENT
EVIL/TERRORISM
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Create empathy (Bandura)
Encourage humanization, stop us/them thinking
(Bandura, Moghaddam)
Better the lives of those in other countries (Bandura,
Zimbardo, Moghaddam)
Use only “just war”; Promote justice and peace
(Bandura. Zimbardo, Moghaddam, Kruglanksi)
Do better negotiation, talk to other side (Zimbardo,
Moghaddam)
Reduce collateral damage (Kruglanski)
Have young people share (Zimbardo)
 Encourage contextualized democracy (get
women involved; Moghaddam)
 Encourage opposite thinking (Saucier et al.)
 Show people that crisis isn’t so bad, mission
not sacred, violations of values exaggerated
(Saucier et al., Ginges et al.)

Have outgroup make symbolic concessions to
ingroup’s sacred values (Ginges et al.)
 Challenge the idea that violence is morally
mandated (Ginges et al.)
 Challenge the idea that terrorism is effective
(Kruglanski)
 Kill their leaders (Kruglanski)
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“FIXES”
Which of these are most practical? Most likely
to succeed?
 Are there other methods not mentioned? Why
are these and not those mentioned?

GENERAL ISSUES
Could anyone commit an “evil” act?
 Are the people responsible for what they did?
 Do these processes occur with more mundane
politics?
 How do governments use these techniques for
their own purposes?

What should France’s response be? How could
they have prevented the response?
 Why are people talking about Paris and not
Beirut?
 Why does religion seem to often be involved?

Could social psychology’s liberal bias affect
research and thought on this topic?
 Why do we feel it’s all about us and now?
 Are these causes and methods valid crossculturally?
 How can terrorism be studied?

HOW TO MAKE A
Suicide bomber
 Torturer
 Terrorist
 Cult member
 School shooter
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