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Title: Fighting talk : what goes on before the bomb goes off? : a study of the causal factors that influence propensity to violence behaviour in a socio-political context, specifically terrorism
Author: Wray, Robin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 4074
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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his multiple study thesis considered the findings of research around the factors that influence individual and group propensity to violence in a socio‐political context and tested key variables to establish their relative contribution in driving this process. An initial pilot study, using a sample of 30 UK participants, recorded perceptions about violent behaviour and its causes using a 27 item parcel: five factor model including variables: environmental, belief systems, social identity, demographic, experience of violence (Wray, 2007), a 10 item measure of the big‐five personality inventory (Gosling, S.D; et al. 1992), an 8 item measure of authoritarian conformity (Couch A.S. and Bales, 1960) and a 7 item measure of aggression (Couch A.S. and Bales, 1960). The pilot identified key variables affecting propensity to violence from both existing literature and research and real life perceptions about violence. The findings identified three variables: group cohesion, transnational support for violence and conformity to authority. The main simulation study, based on 159 UK participants, then tested the impact of group cohesion and authoritarian conformity, plus an additional variable, moral disengagement, on the dependent variable, Propensity to violence (PTV). Participants were asked to consider how they might respond collectively in a hypothetical pressurised artificial politically violent scenario, measuring the degree of violence in their chosen options on a 7‐point scale. Statistical analysis supported the three main hypotheses showing that propensity to violence was shown to increase in groups with higher levels of cohesion in the presence of an authority figure and in response to visual and written stimulus. There was effect overtime for the all conditions with some variance between group types. In addition, Integrative Complexity scoring was applied to each group discourse confirming a positive correlation between differentiation, integration and propensity to violence. Specifically, that group discourse was seen to be least differential or lateral in authority groups irrespective of whether violence or non‐violence was encouraged. Overall the findings confirmed that in a simulated environment, propensity to violence in a UK sample was affected in the context of the variables tested. The resulting model helps to describe the relative and combined relationship between key components of the radicalisation process and the violence of terrorism that can result.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Psychology