Perhaps We Can Prevent Terrorism

Does it seem like we are winning the “war” on terror? Events in Paris, Syria, Iraq, and Libya in recent weeks make it hard to be optimistic.

We should not be surprised. Our pursuit of this “war” conflicts with scientific understanding of human behavior. When people are attacked, their biologically driven response is to counterattack. Yet we continue to pursue a military strategy that focuses narrowly on apprehending or attacking terrorists, while ignoring the collateral effects our actions have in inciting terrorism in the first place. Our science is consistent with the bumper sticker observation that “We are making terrorists faster than we can kill them.”

The physiological processes that underpin the harmful effects of stress are well understood. When people are exposed to trauma it “rewires” their physiology in ways that makes them hyper-vigilant to threat and quick to react to real or perceived danger with fear, anger, and aggression. This is the natural result of our evolutionary heritage – a survival mechanism. Both sides of any conflict are prone to become more belligerent when threatened–whether it is “justified” or not and whether such violence works in the modern world.

Human counter-aggressive tendencies are also a product —> Read More Here


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