Terroristic Behavior

The phrase right wing in right-wing authoritarianism does not necessarily refer to someone’s politics, but to psychological preferences and personality. It means that the person tends to follow the established conventions and authorities in society. In theory, the authorities could have either right-wing or left-wing political views.

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The terminology of authoritarianism, right-wing authoritarianism, and authoritarian personality tend to be used interchangeably by psychologists, though inclusion of the term personality may indicate a psychodynamic interpretation consistent with the original formulation of the theory.

Right-wing authoritarianism is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:

  • Authoritarian submission: A high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
  • Authoritarian aggression: A general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
  • Conventionalism: A high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one’s society should also be required to adhere to these norms.

Instructions

In your main post:

  • Discuss whether you would consider the type of information gathered from using the Altemeyer authoritarian test (Altemeyer, 2006) useful in determining motivations of terrorists, considering what you have learned about terroristic behavior from the assigned unit readings.
  • Provide justification for your viewpoint, using assigned readings or other professional and scholarly resources you find.
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