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Scott Atran analyses the limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict

By Scott Atran

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What motivates young people to join violent extremist movements such as ISIS? Scott Atran, Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oxford, shares research on the differences between the “value-driven decision-making” of “devoted actors” and the “economic decision-making” of “rational actors”, and argues that offering people material incentives to abandon their sacred values is counter-productive.

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