Extremism and Terrorism Psychology Section

Extremism and Terrorism Psychology Section

Chair: Dr. David Nussbaum

Department of Life Sciences/Psychology
University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario
M1C 1A4
Tel: (416) 287-8872
E-mail: dr.david.nussbaum@gmail.com


Extremism and terrorism are serious and related threats that have cognitive, emotional, and behavioural causes and consequences in contemporary life.  Evidence suggests that the prevalence of extreme ideologies is expanding, leading to growing concerns regarding translation of these ideologies into terrorists’ acts.  The potential costs to our world’s population are physical, emotional, financial, social, and aspirational to an extent that cannot be meaningfully calculated. Front-line decision-makers, policy-makers and political scholars have been seeking help from psychologists in understanding this phenomenon from a psychological point of view.

This section of the Canadian Psychological Association has set out to explore the preconditions under which extremism and terrorism come to exist; to study the conditions that maintain groups and individuals who come to be known as extremists or terrorists; to propose actions that our societies might employ to make harmful tactics stop, and to examine how societies might repair the harm that has been done, returning communities to a safe, stable and peaceful condition.  Through this section, we aspire to provide the conditions necessary for psychologists to meet, discuss, and study for this purpose.