Public Opinion and Voting Behavior

Searching for alternative worldviews – how need thwarting, group characteristics and the social environment determine ideological extremism

Veronika Mueller University of Paderborn

Abstract

Using data from the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) database (N = 884), this study shows that lack of identification with the American belief and social value system, and group grievance, are both significant predictors in explaining why individuals reach out to ideological, extremist groups, prior of showing violent behavior. This means that low levels of identification with socially shared norms, values, narratives and beliefs and the attachment to a group that is believed to be under threat, increase the chance that individuals question the established systems in the United States and search for alternative, even extremist, worldviews.

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