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NCJ Number: 70274 Find in a Library
Title: Terrorist Mindset and Terrorist Decisionmaking - Two Areas of Ignorance
Author(s): B M Jenkins
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Document: PDF
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper identifies two areas of ignorance in the current study of the phenomenon of terrorism: how terrorists think and how terrorist groups make their decisions; it also describes a census data profile of a typical terrorist.
Abstract: Such a terrorist is male, in his early 20's, single, from a middle or upper class family, and well educated. He has some university training, although he may be a university dropout. In addition, he is often recruited or joined a terrorist group while at a university. The common psychological profile is far more speculative, suggesting that terrorists generally appear to be absolutists in their ideology, are often fascinated with firearms, or explosives, and might be described as risk seekers. Future research tasks might include the question of what utility the identification of a common terrorist psychosis, terrorist personality, or terrorist mindset might have for society; whether there is a 'typical' terrorist; and how one becomes a terrorist. Other topics might include prevalence of a common psychosis, current theories about terrorist behavior, types of terrorists, and available biographical data sources. In the decisionmaking area, each group seems to have its own modus operandi, and the reources of a group may also dictate its style of operations and the nature of its activities. In addition, no terrorist group has engaged in murder on a large scale. Future research might explore elements of a group's modus operandi, variations in the decisionmaking process, and the terrorist measure of success.
Index Term(s): Terrorist profiles; Terrorist tactics
Note: Rand paper series. Submitted for the International Scientific conference on Terrorism, West Berlin (West Germany), November 14-18, 1978.
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