Terrorism always includes an element of violent behavior, whereas extremism does not necessarily entail the use of violence. Violent extremism, however, is difficult to distinguish from terrorism. The question at focus in this presentation is if acceptance of violence towards other people can be explained by security related values, religion and/or certain self-reported personality traits. The security related values used in this analysis were divided into how people in the MENA region perceived local versus state security. In a second step, the importance of religion was analyzed, and in the final step, an attempt to analyze psychological factors was made. The data used are World Values Survey (WVS) 6th wave, 2010–2015. In this last wave, 85,000 people have been interviewed. About 67% of the respondents answered that violence can never be justifiable. In the profiling process, only 2.3% scored 8–10, indicating that violence is almost always justifiable. Because the WVS consists of a large dataset with global coverage, enabling analyses on an individual level, it is possible to obtain a random selection (probability samples) with enough respondents having preferences reflecting violent values (n = 2933). The focus of the presentation was to shed light on some basic characteristics of people prone to violence, as well as illustrating what factors in normal behavior might protect us from engaging in such actions. Such knowledge could in turn be used to build greater resilience among individuals exposed to violent ideas, with the ultimate goal of implementing it in programs focused on anti-radicalization.
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