The psychology and neuroscience of terrorism

Your brain on constant fear is not a pretty sight. What is supposed to be a lifesaving instinct becomes anchored in your body, flooding your system with corrosive hormones that can damage your health, affect the way you think and change the decisions you make. Terrorists are counting on that effect. They want you to be full of fear. Of them. All the time. They think it proves they’re relevant. And they’ll do just about anything to try and make that happen. “Fear is the primary psychological weapon underlying acts of terrorism,” said Daniel Antonius, director of forensic psychiatry at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Buffalo, New York. “It is this fear, or the anticipation of future acts of terror, that can have serious effects on…

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