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Suicide terrorism and post-mortem benefits

  • Jacqueline M. Gray (a1) and Thomas E. Dickins (a1)

Abstract

Lankford claims that suicide terrorists are suicidal, but that their suicidal tendencies are often frustrated by injunctive social norms. Martyrdom represents a solution, and terrorist organizations exploit this. In this commentary, we claim that this argument has not been fully made and that such ideation in itself does not explain a willingness to engage in punitive actions against an enemy. We suggest the psychology of kinship as a possible missing factor.

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References

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Lankford, A. (2013c) The myth of martyrdom: What really drives suicide bombers, rampage shooter, and other self-destructive killers. Palgrave Macmillan.
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Lieberman, D., Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2007) The architecture of human kin detection. Nature 445(7129):727–31.
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Moghaddam, F. M. (2005) The staircase to terrorism: A psychological exploration. American Psychologist 60:161–69.
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