The Social Stage Model of Disasters is examined as a parallel to natural responses to terrorism. After a shared upheaval, people tend to go through an emergency phase when they talk about the event, followed by a drop in talking during a longer inhibition phase. Thoughts of the event still weigh heavily on people's minds until the adaptation phase when social and physiological patterns stabilize. New methodological and analytical tools have enabled the study of immediate reactions to natural disasters, collective trauma, and terrorist attacks. These include the Electronically-Activated Recorder (EAR), which captures how people congregate and talk to or avoid others. Also, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a software program that analyzes psychological states through linguistic markers, has been applied to language samples from various internet forums for communication before, during, and after shared upheavals. A review of the research using these recent technological developments suggests that terrorism can have the unintended effects of encouraging affiliation, strengthening values, and reaffirming identities. The findings further suggest that distancing, a natural phase in the course of crises and challenges, may be helpful when faced with terrorism. The Internet will continue to be a valuable venue for both victims and researchers.
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