Teens, Terrorism and the Global Psychology Project

McCarthy, Sherri
Northern Arizona University,

By consciously incorporating strategies into the education and socialization of adolescents and young adults designed to minimize tendencies toward stereotyping that lead to prejudice, hate and violence, we can prevent the spread of terrorism in the future. The content area of psychology seems to be a natural venue for accomplishing this goal. At the community college or university level in the Unites States, Introductory Psychology is one of the most commonly required courses in a variety of degree programs, including education, business, nursing, liberal arts, criminal justice and social sciences. It is also a popular and commonly available elective at the high school level. In many other countries, it is a required course during high school, or secondary education (McCarthy, 1999a). Thus, integrating elements into the psychology curriculum that decrease the likelihood of future participation in terrorist activities by students is an effective prevention strategy. This chapter first briefly summarizes relevant research in the areas of developmental and social psychology which support this assertion. Then, promising educational strategies to incorporate into classrooms are reviewed. Finally, the Global Psychology project, developed through the American Psychological Association (APA) P3 Project (McCarthy, 2001), Division 2 and the 1st International Conference on Psychology Education (Karandashav, 2002) in St. Petersburg, Russia, is described.