Dixon, Dymond, Rehfeldt, Roche, & Zlomke, 2003

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APA Citation: 

Dixon, M. R., Dymond, S., Rehfeldt, R. A., Roche, B., & Zlomke, K. R. (2003). Terrorism and relational frame theory. Behavior and Social Issues, 12, 129-147.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
relational frame theory, stimulus equivalence, transfer of function, terrorism, terrorists

The present paper presents a conceptualization of human behavior involved in terrorism from a Relational Frame Theory perspective. Relational frame theory is a contemporary behavior analytic account of human language and cognition. This account has yielded answers to many substantial empirical and theoretical psychological questions that have puzzled psychologists for some time. We believe that relational frame theory can and does account for the behavior of terrorists, those persons affected by terrorists acts directly and indirectly, as well as the entire culture of a country at large. This paper outlines the current state of psychological affairs regarding terrorism in the United States of America, traces the evolution and application of relational frame theory, and describes the prejudices that may follow from a terrorist attack or contribute to terrorist recruitment. Implications for scientists and practitioners are also presented.

This paper discussed terrorism and prejudice from a RFT perspective. It discusses how prejudiced attitudes towards Muslims may have developed after 9/11 based on a RFT approach. The paper provides a review of why prejudice is difficult to eliminate and how culturally based interventions may be successful. The paper suggests increasing the positive functions related to a group by building on the relational network, increasing contact with other groups in a cooperative context, and targeting the context in which prejudiced attitudes occur rather than their content.
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