Why people become radical extremists and how to help them

New research sheds light on the indoctrination process of radical extremist groups.

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  • A new study features interviews with 24 former extremists on the radicalization process.
  • Financial instability, online propaganda, and reorienting events that caused them to "snap" are leading causes of indoctrination.
  • The research team offers potential solutions, including exposure to diverse ideas during childhood and a tamping down of polarization and media sensationalism.
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Study: Personal anecdotes are more effective at bridging divides than facts

Most people believe you can win an argument with facts - but when "facts" are so often subject to doubt, are personal experiences trusted more?

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  • A new study has found that people are more likely to get respect from others in moral and political conversations when sharing personal experiences instead of facts.
  • The research group conducted 15 separate experiments to test this theory in order to learn more about tolerance in specifically political arguments.
  • The effectiveness of facts in these conversations (even when proven true) is unclear because facts themselves are now subject to doubt, especially surrounding controversial and polarizing topics such as gun control and political beliefs.
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Can hospitals prevent gun violence? This ‘universal screening’ study will find out.

Gun violence is a public health crisis that is notoriously difficult to study because of politics. Finally, a new research initiative has the green light to collect life-saving data.

  • New York's Northwell Health system recently received a $1.4 million grant for a new study on gun violence prevention.
  • The study tasks doctors with asking all patients about their access and exposure to guns, and recommending interventions and safety tips as needed.
  • The goal is to destigmatize doctor-patient conversations about guns, and reframe gun violence as a public health issue.
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Study projects lifetime risk of death by gun violence and drugs in the US

By projecting lifetime risk, an alarming new medical study centers the human lives that will be lost due to gun violence and drug addiction in the United States.

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  • A new study found that the risk of a person dying from a gunshot is about one percent, while the risk of death by drug overdose is at 1.5 percent.
  • If this death trend continues on this trajectory, it means that approximately one out of every 100 children today will die from a firearm while one out of 70 will die by drug overdose.
  • Presenting these statistics in terms of "lifetime risk" makes the numbers personal by centering the human lives that will be lost and demands ethical action to protect those lives.
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Republicans aim to stop school shootings with mass surveillance

The Response Act calls on schools to increase monitoring of students' online activity.

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  • The Response Act was introduced by Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and was co-sponsored by five other Republican senators.
  • Among other measures, the bill aims to "incentivize schools to enforce internet safety policies that detect online activities of minors."
  • However, there is no evidence showing that student surveillance technologies actually prevent violence.
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