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Jihad,social media and what drives young men to radicalism.psychological studies?

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  • Long read from the Guardian from April this year.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/apr/13/who-are-the-new-jihadis




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  • I don't think we can exclude the content of the Qur'an as an influencing factor. We have adherents of Islam responsible for 90%+ of the incidents despite being a low proportion of the population, cooberated across many countries with different policies including Muslim majority countries. It would be a massive statistical anomaly for that degree of correlation with those who have read the Qur'an for it to have zero factor.

    Also the isolation theory doesn't make sense because we have plenty that are isolated in other cultures who are far less likely to commit mass attacks because then you would consider the increased calling for isolation of those based on race or sex such as white males would create an expected threat of attack from the current mistreatment and mass targeting. Either the isolation theory is accurate and current social trends are very dangerous or it is inaccurate.

    I'm going with inaccurate because there are also issues with isolation without mass attack in Hispanic populations and minor Asian ethnicities like Vietnamese. Vietnamese have relatively few homocultural peers in for example the US. Basically isolation theory from a statistical standpoint is bunk and content of Qur'an is statistically undismissable and independently cooberated.

    Luckily living in a global world it is often easy to see cause and affect because we have multiple countries to look at and we can see what has a consistent high degree of increased correlation, and what has an inconsistent degree of increased correlation. Those with a highly inconsistent increase in correlation when controlled for factors will usually when properly studied have lower impact than their average raw correlation.




  • I'd have to agree with Joe stiglitz in that poverty and growing inequality contributes to the creation of terror




  • BBC Radio 4

    Extremism: Hidden in Plain Sight

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b096hczb

    Posting as reminder to self to listen.




  • In case you're wondering about the effects of watching beheading videos, in the first stuff of this kind. Never watched one myself.
    In the summer of 2014, two videos were released that shocked the world. They showed the beheadings, by ISIS, of two American journalists – first, James Foley and then Steven Sotloff. Though the videos were widely discussed on TV, print and online news, most outlets did not show the full footage. However, it was not difficult to find links to the videos online. At the time, Sarah Redmond at the University of California, Irvine and her colleagues were already a year into a longitudinal study to assess psychological responses to the Boston Marathon Bombing, which happened in April 2013. They realised that they could use the same nationally representative sample of US adults to investigate what kind of person chooses to watch an ISIS beheading – and why. Their findings now appear in a paper published in American Psychologist.

    By late spring 2013, the researchers had recruited 4,675 adults online, and assessed their mental health, TV-watching habits, demographics, political affiliation and religion. Six months later, the participants also reported on their fear of future terrorism and also on their lifetime exposure to violence. Then, between April and June 2015 – roughly eight months after the two ISIS beheading videos were released – 3,294 of the participants reported anonymously whether they had watched one of the videos either in its entirety, partly, or not at all.

    About 20 per cent reported watching part of one of the videos, and another 5 per cent said they’d watched at least one to the end. People in these groups were more likely to be male, Christian and unemployed, to watch more TV than average, and to have a higher lifetime experience of violence.

    Nearly 3000 of the participants also agreed to write about their motivations for watching, stopping watching, or avoiding the videos altogether.

    Many who fully or partially watched the videos said that they wanted to gain information and verify that the videos existed, or wanted to satisfy their curiosity about what was in them. People who stopped watching part way through or who avoided the videos reported that they did so mostly for emotional reasons – (it was “too sad”, for example) – or because they didn’t want to feel that they were supporting ISIS by watching the footage.

    A year after the participants gave these responses, they completed more online surveys, and the researchers found that those who’d watched at least part of a video had higher levels of distress and a greater fear of future negative events compared with those that hadn’t watched one. These relationships held after controlling for prior distress, lifetime exposure to violence and prior fear of negative events.

    https://digest.bps.org.uk/2019/03/08/a-new-study-has-investigated-who-watched-the-isis-beheading-videos-why-and-what-effect-it-had-on-them/


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  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_fusion

    As we were taught it, fusion of identity meant that someone couldn't differentiate emotionally between their own sister being bombed and someone they'd never met, thousands of miles away. So as a result they reacted with the same rage and pain and despair, and a small portion of people with fused identities became terrorists as a result, just as you'd expect some would if it was literally their own family being bombed, losing the ability to think rationally under extreme emotional distress

    It was just one theory I learned about, I've no idea how real it is or how often it's the cause if it is ever the cause





  • As we were taught it, fusion of identity meant that someone couldn't differentiate emotionally between their own sister being bombed and someone they'd never met, thousands of miles away. So as a result they reacted with the same rage and pain and despair, and a small portion of people with fused identities became terrorists as a result, just as you'd expect some would if it was literally their own family being bombed, losing the ability to think rationally under extreme emotional distress

    Yes, but the converse is also true. The callous indifference towards people one does not identify with.

    Take for example Israel. When Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing an American audience, he very carefully projects an image through his presentation and accent of being a mid-western bank manager. He's careful in these presentations to never evoke anti-semitism; the message is, I'm just like you, the Palestinians are the other, who feel no pain and are mindlessly bent on destruction. And this plays on the middle-class extremism in western society. When the Israelis launch one of their periodic massacres, western middle-classes do not feel horror, they feel positive and secure, that negroids are being kept at bay.

    Missing White Woman syndrome is another example. Basically, you can rape and murder as many drug addicted prostitutes as you like, lay a finger on a white upper-middle-class woman, and the media explodes.




  • Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I've been reading this book and I think it might have the answer to how on earth anyone would join one of these awful groups. We've been sold this narrative that people "join" cults because of some personal vulnerability, but it seems people are recruited, and if you've never been in a cult it's purely because the wrong person hasn't gotten to you on the wrong day (or from the cult's perspective, the right person on the right day).

    GUEST_2afc243f-05ff-48b1-b3c5-85e284a66fd8?wid=488&hei=488&fmt=pjpeg

    It's a very interesting book, see if you can get your local library to order it!

    The writer has loads of free information on his website and its blog: https://freedomofmind.com/




  • if you've never been in a cult it's purely because the wrong person hasn't gotten to you on the wrong day (or from the cult's perspective, the right person on the right day).

    Describe a "wrong day".

    I have a theory susceptibility may be related to a person's experience of authority in childhood.

    Also my experiences would lead me to believe, there are many people who are cult leaders, but who lack the charisma to get anyone to follow them.




  • I don't think there is any evidence of your hypothesis because there's no real "typical profile" of a cult member, apparently, except that it needs to be someone with some way of earning money or getting it and someone intelligent because intelligent people can recruit others.

    Remember, when you are first recruited there is zero sign that they are authoritarian, you thought you were signing up for a meditation class or an entrepreneurial conference, and by the time they start to show that they are authoritarian you are already deeply involved, possibly for years. Or you might never notice they are authoritarian, look at MLM cults!

    I agree with you on the last part, charisma helps, but all cults use some techniques from a selection of documented ones, and that's what makes the difference between my charismatic auntie, and someone who exercises undue influence on another. I think we should all be familiar with the techniques because it seems like the only people who are familiar are the ones who went looking for ways of manipulating others.




  • I don't think there is any evidence of your hypothesis because there's no real "typical profile" of a cult member, apparently, except that it needs to be someone with some way of earning money or getting it and someone intelligent because intelligent people can recruit others.

    Evidence is the thing....people have very diverse and strange views of the world to begin with.

    How do wife beaters recruit their wives.
    Remember, when you are first recruited there is zero sign that they are authoritarian, you thought you were signing up for a meditation class or an entrepreneurial conference, and by the time they start to show that they are authoritarian you are already deeply involved, possibly for years. Or you might never notice they are authoritarian, look at MLM cults!



    Something I'm personally coming to terms with, the best description of my estranged and dysfunctional family which extends to cousins, etc, I can think of is a cult. But a cult that never acknowledges itself to be anything like a cult. I'm even beginning to think, marriages in this group were cult recruitments, there's patterns in the connected families I don't believe are spontaneous, but as if the cult leaders sat down and made decisions for roles and hierarchies, and how these would be shaped, basically through abuse. I'm not sure what my role in the cult was to be, I could not tell you now who were the cult leaders or how they were coordinating the cult, what the ideology was.


    This is worth a read.
    https://www.icsahome.com/articles/how-a-dysfunctional-family-functions-like-a-cult

    I think we should all be familiar with the techniques because it seems like the only people who are familiar are the ones who went looking for ways of manipulating others.

    Yeah, I've had moments of paranoia where I've felt everyone knows this stuff and they're keeping it a secret from me.




  • Really interesting read! I can see the overlap for sure. He does mention abusive relationships as a sort of cult a few times in the book

    Influence-continuum-Continuum-dinfluence.jpg

    Someone from one particular cult, one which happens to be operating in Dublin but I won't say which (I was shocked when i realized how many!), said the best way to describe what it felt like was like was the Truman Show. I took that to mean... you think you are living your own life and making your own choices and then you wake up and see there is this hidden authority that has permeated every single aspect of your existence and you have never had freedom, not even freedom of mind, in any way shape or form. You reminded me of it when you said it feels like everyone seems to know these rules for manipulation and is hiding it!




  • you think you are living your own life and making your own choices and then you wake up and see there is this hidden authority that has permeated every single aspect of your existence and you have never had freedom, not even freedom of mind, in any way shape or form.

    I believe this is what my family wanted to do to me, but it never worked, it definitely damaged my mental health, there were many episodes of violence that were essentially identical to the torture scene in 1984. Violence would often result from innocently questioning something that didn't seem right.

    You reminded me of it when you said it feels like everyone seems to know these rules for manipulation and is hiding it!

    I have a recurring dream, in the dream I'm being chased by an angry mob, they don't speak or won't speak, they do make noises. When they catch up with me, and encircle me, then they will only communicate to me in head nods when I question them, and I can see their facial expressions reacting to what I say, and these communications are unintentional, but they reveal a very definite consensus in the mob.

    The mob surrounds me, I ask what have I done?, their eyes all go wide, their faces quiver in something like fear, they look to each other and back to me, all with that eye widening expression, they won't tell me what I have done. When I say, I have done something?, they nod their heads vigorously in agreement. But when I ask again, what is it I've done?, their faces pull back in fear and they look to each other. They are certain I should accept guilt for something but they won't tell me what it is, what they are all so certain of, they have some information, a consensus, information they share about me, but won't tell me, but they insist I accept guilt. Either they insist I already know this information, or they insist I take some kind of punishment without knowing what it is I'm being punished for. The dream either continues with me making an escape, only for the mob to catch me again and go through the same cycle, until I awake drenched in sweat.

    Has something like this happened to me in real life?

    When I was 15, I was taken out of class, and sent to the principles office, I asked why, and they refused to tell me, I reach the principles office and the principle tells me I'm being suspended from school for a week. I'm shocked, I ask what I've done, the principle refuses to tell me, I'm given incredibly vague answers, I'm told eventually that the principle hopes I will learn a lesson. I'm only left deeply confused, paranoid and distressed. I'm afraid to tell my parents, but on arriving home I discover, they have coordinated with the school, they know I've been suspended. And again they refuse to tell me what I've done, but insist I learn something, but when I request to know how I should alter my behaviour I'm met with shouting and threats of violence. The rest of my time in school is fearful, anxious and paranoid. I would try to dismiss my paranoia, but other similar events would occur.

    It's not that I suspect people are keeping things secret from me, I know they are, I just don't know what those secrets are.

    I do get annoyed when I question people about this kind of thing, I believe there are people who genuinely don't know, like I do genuinely not know, but I also believe people I've spoken to do know, and they chose not to reveal the truth to me when I question them, but often their facial expressions reveal something.




  • Aw man that's so awful. I don't even think Kafkaesque is a strong enough word I feel like you and Kafka are blood-brothers :( , but anyway, what a horrible Kafkaesque nightmare and also real life experience :( I'm so sorry you went through that




  • Aw man that's so awful. I don't even think Kafkaesque is a strong enough word I feel like you and Kafka are blood-brothers :( , but anyway, what a horrible Kafkaesque nightmare and also real life experience :( I'm so sorry you went through that

    I'd would be very interested in what the logic of the people behind all the Kafkaesque schemes I found myself at the centre of was. If anyone ever tried to recruit me into a project like this I would tell them they were insane. There is a lot of perspective out there from the position of victims of abuse, but from the perspective of the abuser there's little to nearly none.

    People have shared similar stories with me. I have a friend, who caught members of his family red handed in a weird scheme to interfere in his personal life. It got weirder when he confronted them, they owned up to it, but when they were asked why, they gave a reason that could have been plausible but my friend had the suspicion was a lie, and it was, but pressed again, they came up with another lie. Then he gets them in a situation where they're trapped and they can't secretly confer, and this where it gets stranger, they've admitted to doing something bad, they've added more lies, that have been exposed as lies, they don't seemed to bothered by that, but when he asks them to tell the truth, they get very distressed and whatever it is, the group seems embarrassed and ashamed at this point. They are not embarrassed in being caught scheming and lying, they have no shame in being dishonest, but whatever the truth is shames and distresses them.


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  • Cults always seem to have someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder at their core (though i do wonder whether starting a cult creates the NPD as the person gets addicted to power and admiration, the chicken or the egg?), I wonder if that is what you are dealing with. I can only guess of course.
    I was thinking that maybe there was someone, some patriarch or matriarch with NPD pulling the strings maybe, and then you said "They are not embarrassed in being caught scheming and lying" which is a key feature of people with NPD (not that it is all that is needed to diagnose someone!). It's so surreal to talk to someone and catch them out in a lie and have them be completely unfazed, maybe not even bother to try to convince you even, not even caring enough to do that. It's surreal for those of us who would feel humiliated to be caught lying, even in a "little white" lie.

    Anyway, maybe the literature on coping with family members who have NPD, or some NPD traits, might shed some light on this? Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a Clinical psychologist who talks about NPD a lot on youtube, might be a good starting point to see if it rings any bells




  • Cults always seem to have someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder at their core (though i do wonder whether starting a cult creates the NPD as the person gets addicted to power and admiration, the chicken or the egg?), I wonder if that is what you are dealing with. I can only guess of course.

    NPDs are driven by their need for narcissistic supply. They learn manipulation techniques to achieve this. Plain psychopaths don't care about narcissistic supply, they just manipulate people to get to the stuff. The Theirry Tilly cult would be an example of a psychopath, he lived in London while controlling the cult, a wealthy family in France, by faxes. It's very interesting how it functioned, he convinced them he was a secret agent sent to protect them, he had them believe there was a conspiracy to kill them, and they subconsciously held the location of a secret treasure. One of the members said she never believed him, but didn't want to get excluded from the family.

    A tactic of control used by abusers is first social isolation, then greater dependence, then the threat of expulsion from the "support" network, which is the abusers domain of control.
    I was thinking that maybe there was someone, some patriarch or matriarch with NPD pulling the strings maybe,

    I'm thinking that too. I've just been baffled as to how someone could exercise that much control, though I'm coming to terms with it. I was just reading a short article on the NPR website about influence, link below. It says inducing a little anxiety in people can be enough to get them to do something immoral, that it overrides the anxiety of doing the bad thing itself.

    I have seen this myself, I worked for companies where we had accounts labelled with warnings, typically the accounts of women, with warnings like under no circumstances to give the account details if a man called, because typically it would be a wife beater calling to find the location of his partner.

    Staff were warned that someone could get murdered if these details were given, serious violent attacks had happened when information had been given. But, it kept happening again and again, the men would call up, start shouting when refused details, I would be completely unfazed, but some people would crack and instantly handover all kinds of information.
    and then you said "They are not embarrassed in being caught scheming and lying" which is a key feature of people with NPD (not that it is all that is needed to diagnose someone!).

    A key difference between an NPD and an ordinary psychopath. If you catch an ordinary psychopath out in a lie, they're not in the slightest embarrassed. But if with an NPD, they will not be embarrassed they will react with anger, you have given them a narcissistic wound.
    It's so surreal to talk to someone and catch them out in a lie and have them be completely unfazed, maybe not even bother to try to convince you even, not even caring enough to do that. It's surreal for those of us who would feel humiliated to be caught lying, even in a "little white" lie.

    Lying is a very interesting thing in itself. There's all kinds of reasons for people doing it; some people react to anxious situations by lying, some people might have ideological reasons, they may believe lying is a sign of strength and cleverness, or they may have poor morals; you don't need to be a psychopath to have poor morals. An interesting thing I found while looking into psychological tests for morality; a question, would you lie to a friend, if the subject answers they would never lie to a friend, it's a strong sign they are deeply immoral.

    Anyway, maybe the literature on coping with family members who have NPD, or some NPD traits, might shed some light on this? Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a Clinical psychologist who talks about NPD a lot on youtube, might be a good starting point to see if it rings any bells

    I've got a quite a few good sources on this. It can be depressing and traumatic reading about this stuff, if you've experienced it.


    https://www.npr.org/2020/02/20/807758704/the-influence-you-have-why-were-blind-to-our-power-over-others?utm_term=nprnews&utm_campaign=npr&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR1XQL7x5uAfnfcB0vecWJu-b-npFNT5qc67yiH4glQx98aCO72Yv8Q-Ci8&t=1582712209254




  • Listening to BBC Radio 4's File on 4 episode - Extreme measures: Can extremists be de-radicalised? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g3k2

    Includes an interview with a forensic psychologist.


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