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March 09, 2021 Tuesday 08:52:39 PM IST

Attributes of Extremist Mind

Teacher Insights

A study done by University of Cambridge has revealed the combination of cognitive and emotional attributes that cause extremism and endorsement of violence in people. The mental attributes include poorer working memory and slower ‘perceptual strategies’-the unconscious processing of changing stimuli, such as shape and colour- as well as tendencies towards impulsivity and sensation seeking. Brains of dogmatic people are slower to process perceptual evidence, but they are more impulsive personality-wise. The mental signature for extremism across the board is a blend of conservative and dogmatic psychologies. Psychologists found that conservatism is linked to cognitive ‘caution’: slow-and-accurate unconscious decision-making, compared to the fast-and-imprecise ‘perceptual strategies’ found in more liberal minds. This research still in early stages could help to better identify and support people most vulnerable to radicalisation across the political and religious spectrum.