Behavior and Social Issues

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 129–147 | Cite as

Terrorism and Relational Frame Theory

  • Mark R. DixonEmail author
  • Simon Dymond
  • Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
  • Bryan Roche
  • Kimberly R. Zlomke


The present paper presents a conceptualization of human behavior involved in terrorism from a Relational Frame Theory perspective. Relational frame theory is a contemporary behavior analytic account of human language and cognition. This account has yielded answers to many substantial empirical and theoretical psychological questions that have puzzled psychologists for some time. We believe that relational frame theory can and does account for the behavior of terrorists, those persons affected by terrorists acts directly and indirectly, as well as the entire culture of a country at large. This paper outlines the current state of psychological affairs regarding terrorism in the United States of America, traces the evolution and application of relational frame theory, and describes the prejudices that may follow from a terrorist attack or contribute to terrorist recruitment. Implications for scientists and practitioners are also presented.

Key words

relational frame theory stimulus equivalence transfer of function terrorism terrorists 


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Copyright information

© Behaviorists for Social Responsibility 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark R. Dixon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Simon Dymond
    • 2
  • Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
    • 3
  • Bryan Roche
    • 4
  • Kimberly R. Zlomke
    • 5
  1. 1.Behavior Analysis and Therapy Program, Rehabilitation InstituteSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Anglia Polytechnic UniversityCambridgeUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Southern Illinois UniversityUnited States of America
  4. 4.National University of IrelandIreland
  5. 5.Southern Illinois UniversityUnited States of America

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