Ph.D student at Psychology faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Terrorism has become a highly important problem for humanity, and psychology tries to make its contribution to the study of this complex phenomenon. In the current work we analyze not a typical terrorist case, but an unusual one: the sarin attack which took place in Japan in 1995. The current study combines the cultural-historic approach of L.S. Vygotsky, and research on Japanese mentality and collectivistic psychology. The results show the importance of several key factors that led a religious sect to become a terrorist organization. In spite of the uniqueness of the Japanese psychology, in the Aum Shinrikyo case we can see some common aspects of terrorist motivation and behavior.
Keywords: Japan, religious terrorism, religion, terrorism in Japan, Aum Shinrikyo, social behaviour, conformity