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Inferring cognition from action: Does martyrdom imply its motive?

  • David J. Weiss (a1) and Jie Weiss (a2)

Abstract

Drawing inferences about the decision utilities of suicide terrorists from their final action is tempting, but hazardous. Direct elicitation of those utilities would be more informative, but is infeasible. Substituting examination of archival materials for elicitation makes the assumption that leaders and bombers have similar utilities. Insight regarding the beliefs of terrorist leaders might be available from observations of recruitment strategies.

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References

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Keeney, G. L. & von Winterfeldt, D. (2010) Identifying and structuring the objectives of terrorists. Risk Analysis 30:1803–16.
Lankford, A. (2013c) The myth of martyrdom: What really drives suicide bombers, rampage shooter, and other self-destructive killers. Palgrave Macmillan.
Nisbett, R. E. & Wilson, T. D. (1977) Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review 84:231–59.
Weiss, J. W. & Weiss, D. J. (2012) Irrational: At the moment. Synthese 189:173–83.
Weiss, J. W., Weiss, D. J. & Edwards, W. (2010) A descriptive multi-attribute utility model for everyday decisions. Theory and Decision 68:101–14.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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