Current approaches to managing, mitigating or resolving resource conflicts or countering terrorism often assume that adversaries approach the world on the basis of rational choices that are similar across cultures. Many government agencies and intergovernmental institutions assume that terrorist action – including self-destruction – derives from rational decisions to optimize strategies for attaining sociopolitical goals. Artis researchers have found, however, that rather than obey a utilitarian “logic of rational consequence”, those who kill and die for a cause more closely follow a “logic of moral appropriateness.”
Artis researchers have discovered a psycho-social type, the ‘devoted actor’, in whom violent behavior is driven primarily by “sacred values” and cannot be predicted or influenced using standard utilitarian analysis. We can identify the individuals and groups who subscribe to sacred values and have other features that indicate a readiness to kill and die, including fusing with violent groups which share those values. We can also help to identify opportunities to undermine these social constructs and disrupt the violence to which they normally lead.
We can provide detailed analytical maps of the social groups and networks that give context and meaning to the life of individuals, providing a clearer understanding of why people act the way they do.