Understanding suicide terrorism: Premature dismissal of the religious-belief hypothesis

James R. Liddle, Karin Machluf, Todd K. Shackelford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We comment on work by Ginges, Hansen, and Norenzayan (2009), in which they compare two hypotheses for predicting individual support for suicide terrorism: the religious-belief hypothesis and the coalitional-commitment hypothesis. Although we appreciate the evidence provided in support of the coalitional-commitment hypothesis, we argue that their method of testing the religious-belief hypothesis is conceptually flawed, thus calling into question their conclusion that the religious-belief hypothesis has been disconfirmed. In addition to critiquing the methodology implemented by Ginges et al., we provide suggestions on how the religious-belief hypothesis may be properly tested. It is possible that the premature and unwarranted conclusions reached by Ginges et al. may deter researchers from examining the effect of specific religious beliefs on support for terrorism, and we hope that our comments can mitigate this possibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-345
Number of pages3
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding suicide terrorism: Premature dismissal of the religious-belief hypothesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this