Cognitive simplicity and self-deception are crucial in martyrdom and suicide terrorism

Behav Brain Sci. 2014 Aug;37(4):366-7. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X13003385.


Suicide attacks and terrorism are characterized by cognitive simplicity, which is related to self-deception. In justifying violence in pursuit of ideologically and/or politically driven commitment, people with high religious commitment may be particularly prone to mechanisms of self-deception. Related megalomania and glorious self-perception are typical of self-deception, and are thus crucial in the emergence and expression of (suicide) terrorism.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Terrorism / psychology*