The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History

Charles B. Strozier, David M. Terman, James W. Jones, Katherine A. Boyd

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This book sheds light on the psychology of fundamentalism, with a particular focus on those who become extremists and fanatics. What accounts for the violence that emerges among some fundamentalist groups? The contributors to this book identify several factors: a radical dualism, in which all aspects of life are bluntly categorized as either good or evil; a destructive inclination to interpret authoritative texts, laws, and teachings in the most literal of terms; an extreme and totalized conversion experience; paranoid thinking; and an apocalyptic world view. After examining each of these concepts in detail, and showing the ways in which they lead to violence among widely disparate groups, these essays explore such areas as fundamentalism in the American experience and among jihadists, and they illuminate aspects of the same psychology that contributed to such historical crises as the French Revolution, the Nazi movement, and post-Partition Hindu religious practice.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9780199777334
ISBN (Print)9780195379655
StatePublished - 1 May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Apocalyptic world view
  • Authoritative texts
  • Conversion
  • Extremists
  • Fanatics
  • Fundamentalist groups
  • Jihadists
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Psychology of fundamentalism
  • Violence


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