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From Words to Action: Exploring the Relationship between a Group's Value References and Its Likelihood of Engaging in Terrorism

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This study explored the dynamics of terrorism through a content analysis of terrorist and nonterrorist groups' documents. Thirteen terrorist groups were matched with nonterrorist controls, and their documents were coded for the values they attributed to their opponents and their own group. Relative to controls, terrorist groups attributed higher dominance values to their opponents and higher dominance, morality, and culture values to themselves in the full sample and in a predictive sample of documents issued before terrorism. These findings indicate that the values groups express in their documents--and particularly the values they attribute to themselves--may predict whether they will engage in terrorism.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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