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24127Re: [evol-psych] Re: Suicide terrorism revisited

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  • Roger D. Masters
    Apr 3, 2003
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      --- You wrote:
      Anyone on this list interested in going deeply into the psychology of
      terrorism?
      --- end of quote ---
      Mark:

      There are (as always) several levels of analysis. Psychology -- AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL -- may often refect the personality type known as "antisocial" personality: that is, those humans who feel no emotional response at harming or killing others (that is, someone who kills a child with as much feeling as most of us kill a mosquito biting our arm on a hot summer day). On a biological pathway to this personality type, reflecting to co-occurrence of a genotype (the MAO A nul mutant) and an environmental event at a specific stage of development (child abuse under the age of one year), see:

      Caspi, et all, "Role of Genotype in the Cycle of Violence in Maltreated Children," SCIENCE (2 Aug. 2002), pp. 851-853.

      This article is especially important because it illustrates clearly how the "nature-nurture" dichotomy is no longer terribly useful. On the one hand, gene-environment-development interactions often matter; on the other, many phenotypic traits can be produced by more than one causal pathway.

      It's also important to use language carefully. Usury may be cruel and nasty in some cases. It is NOT the same thing as torturing prisoners or flying an airplane into the World Trade Towers.

      rdm
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