The psychology of home grown terrorists is at the heart of Stanford researcher and social psychologist Sarah Lyons-Padilla’s work. What makes someone turn against their own country and people? How does discrimination play into the radicalization of Muslims in the United States? In a time of rising unrest, Lyons-Padilla asks and answers the most pressing questions to help policymakers and the general public better understand and respond to the world in which we live.
Sarah Lyons-Padilla is a research scientist at Stanford SPARQ: Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions. She studies the psychology of homegrown terrorism and has found that feelings of “cultural homelessness” and discrimination may play a key role in the radicalization of Muslims in the United States.
One thing that terrorist organizations do offer is a sense of purpose and significance to those who work on their behalf (they have ideologies of those who are with us and those who are against us, which resonate with purpose of those feeling isolated.