Claims abound regarding the presumed motivations, temperaments, and cognitive patterns of terrorists and of those who support terrorism. Very few of these claims have been tested empirically. We attempted to test several previously proposed hypotheses using more rigorous methods. First, is sympathy for terrorism associated with emotional distress, and especially with conflict-trauma-related distress? Second, is sympathy for terrorism associated with perceived oppression? Third, does sympathy for terrorism correlate with the general trait of aggressivity? Fourth, recognizing the robust evidence that both aggression and chronic stress are associated with neuroendocrine changes, do individuals with different neuroendocrine status exhibit different degrees of sympathy for terrorism? Preliminary results will be discussed.
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