Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The morality of martyrdom and the stigma of suicide

  • Joshua Rottman (a1) and Deborah Kelemen (a1)

Abstract

While primarily identifying similarities between suicide terrorists and other suicidal individuals, Lankford also notes differences in how their actions are morally evaluated. Specifically, “conventional” suicide is stigmatized in a way that suicide terrorism is not. We identify the root of this condemnation, showing that suicide is intuitively considered impure and disgusting, and discuss implications of this purity-based stigma.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Atran, S. (2003) Genesis of suicide terrorism. Science 299:1534–39. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/299/5612/1534.full
Bering, J. M. (2011) The belief instinct: The psychology of souls, destiny, and the meaning of life. Norton.
Bloom, P. (2004) Descartes' baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human. Basic Books.
Bloom, P. (2012) Religion, morality, evolution. Annual Review of Psychology 63(1):179–99. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100334.
Brandt, M. J. & Reyna, C. (2011) The chain of being: A hierarchy of morality. Perspectives on Psychological Science 6(5):428–46. doi:10.1177/1745691611414587.
Durkheim, E. (1897/1979) Suicide, trans. Spaulding, J. A. & Simpson, G.. The Free Press. (Original work published 1897).
Emmons, N. A. & Kelemen, D. (in press) The development of children's pre-life reasoning: Evidence from two cultures. Child Development.
Gallup, G. (1978) The Gallup poll: Public opinion 1971–1977, vol. 1. Scholarly Resources.
Giner-Sorolla, R. & Maitner, A. T. (2013) Angry at the unjust, scared of the powerful: Emotional responses to terrorist threat. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39(8) 1069–82.
Ginges, J., Hansen, I. G. & Norenzayan, A. (2009) Religion and support for suicide attacks. Psychological Science 20(2) 224–30. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02270.x.
Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S. & Ditto, P. H. (2011) Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101(2):366–85. doi:10.1037/a0021847.
Gray, K., Young, L. & Waytz, A. (2012) Mind perception is the essence of morality. Psychological Inquiry 23(2):101–24. doi:10.1080/1047840X.2012.651387.
Haidt, J. (2012) The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. Pantheon.
Haidt, J., Koller, S. H. & Dias, M. G. (1993) Affect, culture, and morality, or is it wrong to eat your dog? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65(4):p613–28.
Harris, L. T. & Fiske, S. T. (2006) Dehumanizing the lowest of the low. Psychological Science 17(10):p847–53.
Haslam, N. (2006) Dehumanization: An integrative review. Personality and Social Psychology Review 10(3):p252–64.
Joiner, T. (2010) Myths about suicide. Harvard University Press.
Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Iyer, R., Ditto, P. H. & Haidt, J. (2012) Tracing the threads: How five moral concerns (especially Purity) help explain culture war attitudes. Journal of Research in Personality 46(2):184–94. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2012.01.006.
Lankford, A. (2010) Suicide terrorism as a socially approved form of suicide. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 31(6):287–89. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000073.
Lankford, A. (2013c) The myth of martyrdom: What really drives suicide bombers, rampage shooter, and other self-destructive killers. Palgrave Macmillan.
Parkinson, C., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Koralus, P. E., Mendelovici, A., McGeer, V. & Wheatley, T. (2011) Is morality unified? Evidence that distinct neural systems underlie moral judgments of harm, dishonesty, and disgust. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23(10):3162–80.
Rottman, J., Kelemen, D., & Young, L. (in press) Purity matters more than harm in moral judgments of suicide: Response to Gray. Cognition.
Rottman, J., Kelemen, D. & Young, L. (2014) Tainting the soul: Purity concerns predict moral judgments of suicide. Cognition 130(2):217–26.
Rozin, P., Lowery, L., Imada, S. & Haidt, J. (1999) The CAD triad hypothesis: A mapping between three moral emotions (contempt, anger, disgust) and three moral codes (community, autonomy, divinity). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76(4):574–86.
Russell, P. S. & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2011) Moral anger is more flexible than moral disgust. Social Psychological and Personality Science 2(4):360–64. doi:10.1177/1948550610391678.
Russell, P. S., Piazza, J. & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013) CAD revisited: Effects of the word moral on the moral relevance of disgust (and other emotions). Social Psychological and Personality Science 4(1):6268. doi:10.1177/1948550612442913.
Seidel, A. & Prinz, J. (2013) Sound morality: Irritating and icky noises amplify judgments in divergent moral domains. Cognition 127(1):15. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.11.004.
Skitka, L. J., Bauman, C. W. & Mullen, E. (2004) Political tolerance and coming to psychological closure following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: An integrative approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30(6):743–56. doi:10.1177/0146167204263968.
Young, L. & Saxe, R. (2011) When ignorance is no excuse: Different roles for intent across moral domains. Cognition 120(2):202–14. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.04.005.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed