[Ed. – Cool. You just knew that sophomore psychology course was going to come in handy one day. Well. As long as no one’s saying it had anything to do with Islam, because that would really strain credulity.]
Speaking in Geneva on Monday, Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall cited a theory in popular psychology – the “hierarchy of needs” – in an attempt to explain why people from widely different backgrounds are attracted to terrorist groups.
“We remain challenged by the difficulty of understanding why individuals or communities would join such backward, violent extremist groups,” Sewall said. “Terror network recruits come from all walks of life: posh suburbs and forgotten slums; from countries rich and poor, repressive and free, stable and conflict-ridden.”
She said their motives in joining or aligning with terror groups may be “complex, overlapping and context-specific.”
Sewall argued that those motives could be examined in line with the “hierarchy of needs,” a theory presented by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the mid-20th century. …
Sewall said that while people may be vulnerable to recruitment by extremists due to factors like poverty (“the inability to provide for oneself or one’s family”) or physical insecurity, needs higher up the hierarchy are also relevant.