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The Social & Neurological Construction of Martyrdom

PI: Robert Pape, University of Chicago

Year Selected for Award: 2015

The Social and Neurological Construction of Martyrdom

Principal Investigator: Robert Pape, University of Chicago

Years of Award: 2015-2022

Managing Service Agency: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Project Description:

We aim to develop the first comprehensive social and neurological understanding of how extremist organizations propagate their messages and which audiences are most susceptible.

Key tasks:
1) Compare strategies various violent extremist organizations use to construct cultures of martyrdom supporting their goals.
2) Use fMRI of individuals viewing martyr videos to investigate the pathways by which martyrdom appeals evoke sympathy and to identify characteristics that moderate persuasive effects on beliefs.
5) Expand fMRI subject pool beyond Chicago to audiences "proximate to conflict areas"
3, 4, 6) Collaborate, study more VEOs, disseminate contributions