University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Address for correspondence: Bertjan Doosje, Department of Political Science and Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 129B, 1018 WS Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: E.J.Doosje@uva.nl.
Abstract: Radicalising individuals gradually accept violence as legitimate to instigate political and/or societal changes. In two studies, we investigate the beginning phase of the radicalisation process. We examine whether different trajectories into radicalism can be distinguished based on underlying needs, related to identity, injustice, sensation, or significance. Study 1 (N = 179, Mage = 37.6, SDage = 12.1, Rangeage 19–75 years, 46.4% female) investigated the relation between these psychological needs and risk factors of radicalisation such as relative deprivation. Study 2 (N = 183, Mage = 27.2, SDage = 12.0, Rangeage 18–81 years, 53.0% female) examined whether individuals are attracted to organisations that cater to their own psychological needs, and whether individuals who are thought to be more at risk indeed support violent organisations to a greater extent. Findings indicate that individuals with stronger desires for justice and status are attracted to organisations that can gratify such desires. In addition, at-risk individuals indeed support violent organisations to a greater extent. The implications of these findings for future research and government policy are discussed.