Psychology TMA Assignment Sample

Decoding Word Terrorism: Insights from Psychology and Linguistics

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Introduction Of The Word Terrorism

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In the current situation, one of the most dangerous threats that society is facing is terrorism. The meaning of the word terrorism is vast; however, in general, it represents an act of violence which is used to create a climate of fear or to achieve some kind of political aim. It is a complex concept of terror and the word was used for the first time during the French revolution to represent terror. Terrorism is a concept of social science; however, its roots are deep and connected with the base of Psychology. Assignment sample in UK it has mainly two impacts: one is violence and the other is psychological. However, the impact of terror is a major concern in today’s world, which can be explained with the help of psychology.

Definition of terrorism

In the field of psychology, the definition of terrorism is not limited to just “the act of terror”. The main objectives of terrorism can change with the slightest change in society. It does not depend on a single fact rather it is related to many aspects. Even those people who are considered terrorists are dependent on some context and the definition of terrorism changes with the position of the person, who is defining it. In major cases, it can be seen that both parties arguably committed the same kind of act of violence, which can be described as terrorism (2.1 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.5). For example, it was the basic scenario of the conflict that arose between Israel and Palestine. They both have violated the peace in order to “self-defence”. In simple words, the concept of terrorism not only depends on the action but is also dependent on the identity of the person who is committing the act and the nature of the reason.

There is another kind of definition that portrays terrorism in a broad manner, which is the legal definition. In this, it can be defined as some specific actions such as violence against a person (2.2. and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.8). The acts of terrorism mainly demand two elements the action and the state of mind of the person committing the act. In some cases, “terrorism” is compared to “extremism” as if they are synonyms of each other, however in reality they both are two different concepts.

Terrorism is mainly violence which is committed by some non-state actors who are not part of the formal armed force of a country (3 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, 11). Psychology mainly focuses on the person, the terrorist, not the impact on the wider part of society. They are the population of any country who are considered hard to reach. The reason that makes one person interested in joining any of the terrorist groups is the main point of discussion in the field of psychology.

Factors behind engaging in terrorism

Terrorism is one of the most crucial real-world problems which is included in the study of psychology after a very long time. It all started with very few cases, however, terror incidents such as 9/11, or the 7/7 bombing are those cases that initiated the main study about this type of act of violence (4 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.14). The research and the basic psychological understanding helped to figure out the mindset of any terrorist and as a result of it, the outline of the main factors is also developed. The main possible factors which can make any person, engage in an act of terror are the push and pull factors, which depend on some of the basic concepts.

  • The concept of Radicalisation: The word radicalisation means the process or the act by which any person becomes more extreme about something. It can be a belief about any kind of action or political view (4.1 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.14). In this process, any individual or any group adopts radical views. It cannot be just defined as an act; rather it is a process, especially in the case of Terrorism. However, Radicalisation and terrorism are different in meaning, but it can be seen that some people with radical beliefs have support for terrorist groups. Here both concepts became one and Radicalisation means the process by which one person or a group came forward to support, engage in the act of terror or became part of terrorist activity.
  • Rational choice theory: The theory of rational choice focuses on the act or behaviour and the process of decision making which plays a major role in shaping the behaviour. The main concept of the theory is that it believes the person is a rational thinker (4.2 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.16). For example, in a terrorist group, the suicide bomber thinks rationally, as because he believes that it will cause benefit in communicating the political message and will leave a huge impact.
  • Ideological development: The main challenge in psychology understands the thinking process of a terrorist. The basic step can be completed by analysing the terrorist activity or the target of a terrorist group, it will provide knowledge about the ideology of that group (4.3 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.18). In most cases, it can be observed that the forts step starts with the concept of “something is not right” or with injustice.


There are mainly two major factors that worked as the base in the case of terrorism, they are Push and pull factors. In this case, they are the key that helps to develop the ideology of being engaged in terrorism and they also provide the idea about the routes of terrorism. The Push and pull factors altogether are responsible for the act of terror. They both play the most crucial role in converting one human being into a man of terror.

The similarity between these factors

The push factors are those situations that can separate someone from the main society and make them choose the way of radicalisation. It includes poverty, injustice or any kind of activity related to discrimination. On the other hand, the pull factors are those that can attract individuals to choose the oath of violence or extremism. It included the appeal that attracts one to join any terrorist organisation or it can be the ideology that they have in common (4.2 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.16). In both cases one thing is common, choosing the path of terror and if the psychological factors behind it can be discussed then the result will indicate a common ground that states "something is not right" or there is any kind of injustice. For example, the push factor of poverty or unemployment can generate a feeling of injustice in the system, which can make can the young generation vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. The same thing applies to other sensitive factors such as inequality in the education system, and socio-economic difficulties and they easily get connected with the other pull factors such as the mentality of revenge or similarity with other victims of the violence.

Differences between the factors

The main difference between the push and pull factors is the approach of the factors. The push factors are those negative circumstances from which one person tries to escape and for that, they join any group, whereas the pull factors are that positive kinds of initiatives which can attract one or a few people to join a group of terrorists. Push factors are such as poverty, discrimination or a baseless weak social structure (4.2 and Week 9: Society in conflict −understanding terrorism, p.16). They are believed as the most crucial factor, which takes majorly the refugee children or the other risk groups to become vulnerable to the recruitment of the terrorist group. Other than that, insecurity or any experience of an act of violence or those who are the victim of injustice can be a factor. Unemployment and lack of basic education are still the primary causes. On the other hand, the pull factors are such a process of effective indoctrination and propaganda, those reasons attract persons into the act of violence. Even any kind of indirect connection with a victim can generate the desire of taking revenge against any common “enemy”. In major cases, those people who have a previous connection with a criminal offence provide a feeling of violence or power and a strong identity.


The concept of terrorism can be defined as one kind of intentional act of violence that can create a mess in peacetime. It can define a lot of acts but generally, it means anything violent and morally not right. However, in psychology, it is important to focus on the main cause that plays a crucial role to make one person attracted to the terrorist activity or terrorist organisation. There are many factors such as poverty, unemployment or injustice that "push" one to attempt acts of terror to get justice, on the other hand, attracting factors or appealing ideology in common can make one attracted to this kind of organisation. The only way to solve the problem from the core is the effective involvement of the youth and the positive initiative from the government to erase the discrimination or injustice to the risk groups of society.

Key developments in psychological understandings of self-esteem

Self-esteem plays a crucial role as a component of motivation and staying positive. In simple words, it helps in understanding an individual’s potential to feel inspired, therefore they can be prepared for any new challenges. Self-esteem maintains a stable relationship with personal traits and because of that in childhood it usually tends to be the lowest and in adulthood, it becomes the highest (2 and Week 7: Self-esteem, p.3). The level of self-esteem can be measured with the help of Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, which is commonly known as the RSES. One set of questionnaires about self-searching helps to calculate the self-esteem of an individual, where if anyone scores 15 or above that out of 30, it is considered as high self-esteem (2.1 and Week 7: Self-esteem, p.4). A score below 15 indicates lower self-esteem.

There are some key developments in psychology that help to have healthy self-esteem-

  • The main thing that can help in maintaining self-esteem is avoiding any kind of dwelling on past negative experiences.
  • It starts with the process of self-believing, and the concept of everyone is equal, no one is better or worse than oneself.
  • Proper expression of the need plays a significant role
  • The positive perspective on life
  • The power of saying “no”
  • The acceptance of individuals' strengths and weakness

Timeline to outline the key milestones in the development of psychological understandings of self-esteem

Key milestones Process Timeline
The recognition of the situation which affects the self-esteem The identification of the crisis in school, home, and workplace. A change in roles of life events. 10 days
Awareness of the thoughts and beliefs Self-talk can be processed to view the situation. Questioning oneself about the belief that can be positive, negative and neutral. 10 days
Acceptance and challenging negative thinking Mental filtering process All-or-nothing thinking. 15 days
Adjust the thought process Motivational statement Forgiving oneself Encouraging yourself 10 days
Acceptance of your thoughts Taking care of self Enjoying everyday life Spending time with people can make one happy 15 days

Table 1: Timeline of the development of psychological understandings

(Source: self-created)

Self-esteem is one form of confidence that provides the idea of one about their worth and abilities. Eventually, it impacts the decision-making capability of an individual and also affects the relationship and physical and mental health. Low self-esteem can affect the whole life circle of an individual and that is the reason developing the psychology to regain self-esteem, is considered important (2.1 and Week 7: Self-esteem, p.4). The steps to boost confidence can be a game changer in that case. The first step is always the recognition of the crisis, which follows becoming aware of the situation. Challenging all the negative thoughts can help to fight the tendency of converting every positive thought into a negative one. Adjusting the thoughts and finally accepting them can help in the process to gain the lost self-esteem. The whole process can be completed within 2 months if one can follow all the steps accordingly and then answer the questions of Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale can indicate growth in self-esteem.

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