Terrorism, 9/11 and psychology

Andrew Silke looks at the responses, obstacles and ways forward.
How much do psychologists really know about terrorism? It has been around for a long time, but it was not until the end of the 1960s that terrorism began to attract any degree of meaningful research interest within the social sciences. A recent review of academic research found that roughly 5 per cent of the published literature on terrorism was the work of psychologists or psychiatrists. In the 20 years prior to 9/11, there were probably fewer than 20 research-active psychologists in the area (Silke, 2003). Most papers are written by people who are not specialists and who will not write more than one or two articles on the subject over the course of their research careers (Silke, 2001). The result is that much research is very poorly aware of previous work and quite out of touch with established knowledge. So has 9/11 changed anything?

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