Authors: Rony Berger, Faculty, Emergency Medicine, Ben Gurion University, Israel, and Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University
Council on Foreign Relations Press
This paper focuses on identifying the nature and characteristics of members of two groups of former extremists: former Palestinian and Israeli militants and former U.S. gang members. By exploring the underlying processes that led these two groups to turn away from violent extremism, Rony Berger and Philip Zimbardo aim to decipher the "psychological code" of former extremists in order to help develop effective antiradicalization programs.
This paper was commissioned by Google Ideas. The content and opinions expressed in the paper are the authors' own.
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Rony Berger is a senior clinical psychologist and a family and child therapist who is an internationally recognized expert in dealing with the psychological preparation for and aftermath of terrorism and other major disasters. Dr. Berger is on the faculty of emergency medicine at Ben Gurion University and a senior member of the PREPARED center for emergency response research, and is also on the faculty of the Stress, Crisis, and Trauma program at Tel Aviv University. He is the director of the Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Unit at Brit Olam, an Israeli international relief organization, and a fellow with Psychology Beyond Borders, a humanitarian organization that aims to alleviate psychological suffering in the aftermath of traumatic events.
Philip Zimbardo is an internationally recognized scholar, educator, researcher, and media personality who has won numerous awards and honors in each of these domains. He has been a Stanford University professor since 1968, and taught previously at Yale, NYU, and Columbia. Zimbardo's career is noted for giving psychology away to the public through his popular PBS TV series, Discovering Psychology, along with many text and trade books that are among his three hundred publications. He was recently president of the American Psychological Association.