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Why Do Young People Join Extremist Groups?

One of the saddest aspects of today's world is the number of terrorist attacks and school shootings. How do young people get to the point of committing such acts? And how can we prevent them from getting to the point where they want to commit violent acts? Does bullying play a role? Is it an issue of mental illness? Clearly we need to find out why school shootings occur and how young people are motivated to join to join extremist causes.


How Significance Quest Theory Explains Violence


There has been a great deal of research into these questions and one of the leading theories is called Significance Quest theory. It draws on quite a number of psychological concepts that students learn throughout even an Introduction to Psychology course.  


The exercise below provides students with a briefly introduction to the theory (slide 1) and then in the next slides they are provided with opportunities to exercise what they've learned about the theory.  




Worth checking out: Lift After Hate. From their mission statement:


Life After Hate is dedicated to inspiring individuals to a place of compassion and forgiveness, for themselves and for all people.

Want to share this activity with your students? Check out this post in the Our Favorite Class Exercises area! (Note: you must be a member to access this activity. Not a member? It's free!

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