Authors
Adam Feltz
Michigan Technological University
Abstract
Some theorists argue that appropriate responses to terrorism are in part shaped by popular sentiment. In two experiments, using representative design and ecological stimuli (e.g. actual news reports), we present evidence for some of the ways popular sentiment about terrorism tracks theory and can be constructed. In Experiment 1, we document that using the word ‘terrorist’ to describe a group of people decreases willingness to understand the group's grievances, decreases willingness to negotiate with the group, increases perceived permissibility of violence against the group, and decreases the perceived rationality of the group. In Experiment 2, we demonstrate that judgment about the permissibility of the use of force against terrorist groups can be biased by simple memory-priming manipulations. Results are interpreted in terms of (1) implications for philosophical theories about terrorism and (2) the role that experimental investigation can play in applied ethics.
Keywords terrorism  applied ethics  experimental philosophy
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