The Psychology of Terrorism (2nd Ed.) - Expanded Table of Contents

In a few months, Routledge will publish the 2nd edition of my Psychology of Terrorism. Here you'll find an expanded Table of Contents to give you an overview of specific issues covered in this revised and expanded edition. Sneak peek excerpts to follow in the coming months as we near the launch.


The Psychology of Terrorism (2nd Ed.)


Chapter 1: Psychological Warfare

Sniping at children in Syria

Attitudes to Terrorism

Language and Labels

What do Terrorists Do?

Isn’t Terrorism Just War (by Other Means?)

Defining Terrorism as Psychological Warfare?

Terrorism as Both Type and Tool of Warfare

Chapter 2: Understanding Terrorism

No, Suicide Terrorists are not Suicidal

The Nature and Extent of Terrorism Research

Theoretical Issues in the Study of Terrorism

The Nature and Heterogeneity of Terrorism

Psychology and Terrorism

Methods, Sources, Avenues

Primary Research


Chapter 3: Terrorist Minds?

Amrozi bin Nurhasyim

Terrorism and Psychopathy

A Terrorist Personality?


Narcissism and Narcissism-Aggression

Psychodynamic accounts

The ‘Normality’ of Terrorist Behavior

Persistence through Inconsistency

Difficulties with ‘Terrorist Personality’ Research

Terrorist Profiles


Chapter 4: Involvement

Theories, Models & Metaphors

From Profiles to Pathways to…Radicalization?

The Rise of ‘Radicalization’

Critical Distinctions

Why Does Someone Want to Become Involved in Terrorism?

‘Trigger’ Moments

The Swat Valley

“Motivation” is rarely the “cause”

The Allure of Involvement

Opportunity, Role and Progression

Towards Risk Factors?


Chapter 5: Engagement


The Cycle of a Terrorist Event

Decision and Searching for Targets

Pre-Terrorist Activity


Post Event Activity and Strategic Analysis

Al-Qaeda’s “HR Issues”

Anders Breivik

Mohammad Atta

Inside the Taj Mahal Hotel

Psychological Consequences of Engagement in Terrorism

“It’s the deception that’s critical!”

Obedience to an Authority

Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants

The Turn to Violence: A Recruiter’s Perspective

Dehumanization and Justification

March 2003: ‘Message to our people….”

Neutralization Techniques: Zachary Chesser and Tareq Mehanna

The Psychology of Concealment

The Road to Camp Chapman - From Humam al-Balawai to “Abu Dujana”

The Turn to Violence: A Recruit’s Perspective

“Jihad Joe” – J.M. Berger’s Analysis of American Jihadists



Chapter 6: Disengagement

Omar Bakri Mohammed and “Sheikh Google”

Walking Away from Terrorism

Why (and How) Terrorism Ends


Physical Disengagement

Psychological Disengagement

Psychological Traps

“Was it the Americans? I don’t know…”

Psychological Disengagement > Secondary Desistance > De-Radicalization

Stay or Go?

Understanding Disengagement


Chapter 7: Towards a Science of Terrorist Behavior

Blind Spots? “Taking Religious Ideology Seriously…”

What Can Psychology Contribute?

What if we actually had a terrorist profile?

Whose problem is terrorism anyway?

Radicalization or Terrorism?


Why the Answer May Not Lie in Risk Factors

Just Another “List of Ingredients” Model

Finding Complexity in the Gray Areas

“Unremarkable People Living Unremarkable Lives”

Terrorism Research, Policy and Academia

Terrorism Research Is About Interpretation, Not Explanation



Launching on June 19, 2014