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Terrorism and Conspiracy Theories: A View from the 3N Model of Radicalization


In this work, we discuss through lens of the 3N model of radicalization vulnerability to conspiracy beliefs and the factors which contribute to acting upon such beliefs. After discussing the numerous empirically supported precursors to conspiracy beliefs, we integrate them within the 3N framework, positing that belief in conspiracy theories are particularly suited to satisfy the need for significance through the incitation to violence against an alleged enemy. Conspiracy theories highlight for believers their grievance and a culprit responsible for that grievance who needs to be defeated. They also isolate individuals from non-believing friends and family while bringing them closer to a community of other believers – a network which validates the narrative and rewards those who act upon it.

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Full Citation:

Kruglanski, Arie W., Erica Molinario, Molly Ellenberg, and Gabriele Di Cicco. 2022. "Terrorism and Conspiracy Theories: A View from the 3N Model of Radicalization." Current Opinion in Psychology 47 (June). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2022.101396

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