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Psychology Colloquium 2014-15: Religious Radicalization: Motivation and Intervention with Dr. Ian McGregor (York)

November 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Location:102 Azrieli Theatre
Key Contact:Laura Barrow

Dr. McGregor will review evidence from his laboratory experiments revealing that: 1. Anxiety-related threats (goal frustrations, uncertainties, conflicts) heighten zeal and willingness to kill and die for religious beliefs. 2. These same threats heighten engagement with all the components of radical religious zeal (belief in God, cosmic morality, group identification, values/ideals, control, and hostility). 3. Religious zeal and its components cause increases in approach motivation. 4. Religious zeal and its components relieve anxious distress. Results are interpreted from a “reactive approach motivation” perspective based on research evidence that anxiety-related threats cause people to use eager commitments as levers for activating approach motivated states that relieve anxiety. Dr. McGregor will conclude with evidence suggesting avenues for intervention relating to goal progress, value-affirmation, group affirmation, and education about core religious ideals (which are universally prosocial).

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