Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Victor Asal

Abstract

Suicide terrorism has been extensively studied, although few researchers have been able to arrive at definitive conclusions. Often overlooked is the explanatory potential of evolutionary psychology. This study presents an evolutionary model of suicide terrorism using the principles of kin selection theory and inclusive fitness and offers several predictions about suicide terrorists. To test these predictions, an experimental design was constructed in which participants randomly received one of nine separate scenarios in which they were told that they were a member of a marginalized ethnic group and asked if they would be willing to commit a suicide bombing against their oppressors. The findings provide partial support for an evolutionary model of suicide terrorism and indicate future investigation is required to fully understand how evolutionary psychology can be used by practitioners and policy makers to combat suicide terrorism.

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