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Weighing dispositional and situational factors in accounting for suicide terrorism

  • David C. Funder (a1)

Abstract

Lankford's book makes the important point that analyses of suicide terrorists often commit the error of overestimating the importance of situational causes of behavior and underestimating dispositional causes, such as underlying pathology. Personality and individual differences are important; suicide terrorists are not ordinary people driven by situational pressures. However, citation of empirical evidence is haphazard; the scholarly argument is not well-developed.

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Funder, D. C. (1982) On the accuracy of dispositional vs. situational attributions. Social Cognition 1:205–22.
Funder, D. C. & Fast, L. A. (2010) Personality in social psychology. In: Handbook of social psychology, 5th edition, ed. Gilbert, D. & Fiske, S., pp. 668–97. Wiley.
Krueger, J. I. & Funder, D. C. (2004) Towards a balanced social psychology: Causes, consequences, and cures for the problem-seeking approach to social behavior and cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27(3):313–27.
Lankford, A. (2013c) The myth of martyrdom: What really drives suicide bombers, rampage shooter, and other self-destructive killers. Palgrave Macmillan.
Ross, L (1977a) The false consensus effect: An egocentric bias in social perception and attribution processes Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13(3):279301.
Ross, L. (1977b) The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In: Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 10, ed. Berkowitz, L., pp. 173220. Academic Press.
Ross, L. & Nisbett, R. E. (2011) The person and the situation: Perspectives of social psychology, 2nd edition. Pinter and Martin.

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