Psychologist explains mindset on people willing to join terroris - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Psychologist explains mindset on people willing to join terrorist organizations

Psychologist explains mindset on people willing to join terrorist organizations Psychologist explains mindset on people willing to join terrorist organizations

As the investigation into a Mississippi couple who attempted to join terrorist group ISIS continues, the question many people are asking is this: how could anyone be influenced to join such a dangerous organization?

Psychologist Beverly Smallwood said many people just feel the need to belong.

“People have an innate desire to belong and belong to something more important than them,” Smallwood said.

Smallwood added that younger people are looking for a “need for purpose” in life, so they are sometimes easily persuaded.

“It’s very easy for young people who are idealistic. They want to see that they’re doing something that matters,” she said. “It’s very easy for them to get caught up in that.”

Smallwood said early intervention with children who have a major change in behavior is important.

“I think that the best parents can do is instill a strong sense of values,” Smallwood said. 

Authorities said ISIS is using social media sites like Facebook to find potential targets and it appears to be working.

“It’s good for parents to keep a check on what’s going on on social media with their young people and other social media because there are certainly some dangers," Smallwood said. 

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