Michael H. Becker


Doctoral Student and Extremism Researcher

Decision-Making and Support for Political Violence


Research on politically motivated behavior often makes the distinction between activism and political violence or dissenting behaviors. One under-studied aspect of this is the role of cognition and decision-making capacity of individuals in differentiating these concepts. 

This ongoing project builds an evidence base to explore if cognitive processing is a link between political attitudes and activism and higher levels may be associated with less support for illicit forms of political dissent. Future work will utilize survey instruments comprised of validated scales to gather individual-level information on cognitive processes, activism and dissent behavioral intentions, and more. 

Results stemming from this project will serve two primary purposes: publication of research results and a baseline from which to expand future work including longitudinal data collection, qualitative interviews of high and low risk individuals, and the assessment of these constructs and at intake and exit from ongoing de-radicalization programs.