Compare and contrast different radicalization models

compare and contrast at least two different radicalization models that explain terrorist motivations. In this research paper also summarize behavioral and psychological factors associated with disengaging from terrorism and describe what efforts or programs are most effective in countering radicalization and why.

Recommended Source: King, M. and Taylor, D. M. (2011). The Radicalization of Homegrown Jihadists: A Review of Theoretical Models and Social Psychological Evidence. Terrorism & Political Violence, 23(4), 602-618. You should start with this article and then use other sources as well to make sure you hit the 8 expected scholarly references for this research paper.

Assignment Specifics:

The body of your report is to be at least FOUR FULL pages in length (not counting title page and references) and is to contain the following:

A brief introduction, with the topic and your thesis

A main body, containing the “meat” of the paper, where you provide the requested information supported by class readings and with your analysis

A conclusion, summarizing your information clearly and concisely

Technical Requirements

Your paper must be at a minimum of 4-6 pages (the Title and Reference pages do not count towards the minimum limit).

Scholarly and credible references should be used. A good rule of thumb is at least 2 scholarly sources per page of content.

Type in Times New Roman, 12 point and double space.

Students will follow the current APA Style as the sole citation and reference style used in written work submitted as part of coursework.

Points will be deducted for the use of Wikipedia or encyclopedic type sources. It is highly advised to utilize books, peer-reviewed journals, articles, archived documents, etc.



            Radicalization is influenced by a change of belief, behaviors, and feelings that drive an individual or group to violence. In the terrorism world, radicalization is when an individual is imparted with certain theories then has recruited in an extremist organization. Some of these groups include the Taliban, Boko haram, al-Shabaab, al Qaeda, and ISIS. An individual ideal, perceptions, philosophy, and morals align with a terrorist group to spark the will to execute terror plans. There are five or more models that explain the motivations of radicalization.  However, this paper will center on Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism and the NYPD’s Radicalization Process models of terrorist motivations (King & Taylor, 2011). Further, it will carry out a comparative analysis of the two models and give précis of the psychological and behavioral factors that assist in deradicalization. Lastly, the paper will present an in-depth description of programs that most suitable to address radicalization.

The Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism model

            “The Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism model” pictures a layout with rising levels such as those seen in staircases. At the starting level, the group that an individual belongs to is deprived, making him/her vulnerable to be influenced to terrorism.  The second level targets the individual feelings caused by injustices or grievances hence initiating aggression (King & Taylor, 2011). Herein, the legitimacy of the target group is less of a concern. The third level, “moral justification of extremism,” imparts how to deal with an enemy. Like-minded individuals are inducted to hoist their belief of being different, disregarded, and separated from the enemy. The fourth and the last level, “radicalization,” pictures how an individual belief influences his/her actions then joins a terror group. They assimilate the terror group ideals and beliefs during this level and then integrate the “for us or against us” belief.  The recruits are enthusiastic about executing any task planned by the terrorist group, even if it means putting their lives of the line (King

& Taylor, 2011). The Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism model is very strict, censuring any changes to its sole purpose (Larsson, Lygre, Ranstorp, 2011).

NYPD’s Radicalization Process model

             Unlike Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism model, which is broken into levels, the NYPD’s Radicalization Process model is split into stages.  The model is more flexible than the former. The model is primarily allied to Islamic terrorism due to the New York City and Islamic terrorism after 9/11. Pre-radicalization is the first stage whereby the aspiring entrant in his/her natural state. Young male Muslims are the target groups. Usually, this population is educated, without a criminal history, recent converts, or second/ third-generation immigrants. Based on their traits, they are not regarded as radical (King & Taylor, 2011). Self-identification, the second stage, is the induction point for radicalization. Some crisis is created to influence the inductees reasoning. Indoctrination is the third stage whereby the recruits assimilate the terror group ideals and beliefs. Individuals have to put group interests first, forcing members to build relationships. Jihadization, the last stage, drives an individual to be actively involved in attacks and take executions on behalf of the terror group.

Comparison of NYPD’s model and Moghaddam’s Staircase model

            The two models differ from each other based on their structures.  The level of flexibility is high in the NYPD’s Radicalization Process model. It is hard to discern radicalization in the Moghaddam model because it is very rigid and structured (Larsson et al., 2011). NYPD’s Radicalization Process model avers that radicalized persons have shared ideals and characteristics. Research presented by the Department of Homeland Security cites that not all psychological or behavioral traits directly influence radicalization (Borum, 2012).  Besides the structural differences, the specifics of each model are very different. Consistent with the NYPD model, a harrowing event drives violence and extremism, whereas procedural justice and societal factors motivate terrorism in the Moghaddam model. It is not empirically proven that social factors directly catalyze terrorism.  Neither of the models considers the principal cause of radicalization.

           Behavioral and psychological factors associated with terrorism disengagement

           Behavioral and psychological factors directly influence radicalization and deradicalization. A distressed person suffering from trauma is susceptible to contemplate joining a radical group. When one’s mind is unstable, a terrorist organization can instill its ideology, thus drawing a target to radicalization. Behavioral factors can be used as the drivers of change (Bosley, 2020). For instance, a person can be disturbed when a friend dies in a suicide bombing initiated by a terror group. In such a situation, the person is disheartened, whereas the terror group is the antagonist. When it comes to psychological factors, deradicalization and this engagement from terrorism are influenced by change or seductive nature of beliefs, opinions, and ideal. Giving up on terrorism can be influenced by a change in ideals. When a person finds out that s/he was disillusioned with a leader who promoted radical ideas, his/her commitment to terrorism will decrease (Bosley, 2020). Intense terrorism tasks can cause burnouts, thus impelling one to lose faith in extremism ideology and quit terrorism. When individuals delve into finding the legitimacy of terrorism ideal, behaviors and worldviews change, commitment towards terrorism dwindles. A mentally sound person who believes in the sacred value of humanity will weigh on the virulence of extremism. After deep consideration, an individual will find violence unacceptable and inhumane hence change violent behaviors.

Counter radicalization efforts or programs

           Since behavioral and psychological factors influence radicalization, most counter-terrorism efforts should consider the motivations (Koehler, 2016). There is no defined solution to radicalization hence the use of experimental models. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly considered because behavioral traits motivate individuals to join terrorism (Koehler, 2016).  The United States of America prefers community outreach to promote engagement, community Partnerships, integrating law enforcement agencies, and education (Hellmuth, 2015; Jackson & Costello, 2019). The initiatives have yielded results because they focus on patterns of deceptive thinking. France, on the other side, focuses on a psychology-based framework, isolation, and a 60-point strategy (political views, religious perspectives, and building community) trust to lessen terror incidences (Hellmuth, 2015; Kern, 2017).


           Moghaddam’s Staircase to Terrorism model and the NYPD model differ in structure but maintain the same objective of radicalization. Also, the scope of the two radicalization models is different. Since behavioral and psychological factors influence radicalization, disengagement from extremist behavior is impacted by the same factors. The use of experimental strategies signifies that there lacks a sound model of eradicating radicalization. Therefore, more research is needed to find an absolute strategy to eliminate terrorism. Fresh ideas to improve intelligence and counter-radicalization approaches would complement community partnerships, a psychology-based framework, community outreach, and the 60-point strategy.


Borum, R. (2011). Radicalization into violent extremism II: A review of conceptual models and empirical research. Journal of strategic security4(4), 37-62.

Bosley, C. (2020). Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation.

Hellmuth, D. (2015). Countering jihadi radicals and foreign fighters in the United States and France: très similaire. Journal for Deradicalization, (4), 1-43.

Jackson, B. A., & Costello, K. (2019). Practical Terrorism Prevention: Reexamining US National Approaches to Addressing the Threat of Ideologically Motivated Violence. RAND Corporation.

Kern, S. (2017). France: Deradicalization of Jihadists a” Total Fiasco. Gatestone Institute.

King, M., & Taylor, D. M. (2011). The radicalization of homegrown jihadists: A review of theoretical models and social psychological evidence. Terrorism and political violence23(4), 602-622.

Koehler, D. (2016). Understanding deradicalization: Methods, tools and programs for countering violent extremism. Taylor & Francis.

Lygre, R. B., Eid, J., Larsson, G., & Ranstorp, M. (2011). Terrorism as a process: A critical review of Moghaddam’s “Staircase to Terrorism”. Scandinavian journal of psychology52(6), 609-616.