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The correlation between engineering and terrorism

Researchers have long found that a large number of violent terrorists come from engineering backgrounds. Recently, social scientists Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog looked at a data set of almost 500 violent Islamist extremists dating back to the 1970s, and were able to confirm the correlation between engineering education and terrorism.

The researchers found that of the 207 who had pursued higher education (and whose majors could be determined), 93 (almost 45 per cent) had studied engineering. According to the researchers, this frequency well exceeds average numbers when compared to non-jihadists.

However, this correlation extends beyond just the Islamist movement. Violent neo-Nazis and neo-Stalinists in Russia as well as neo-Nazi and white-supremecist groups in the US also had high numbers of engineers.

1 Comment

  1. It is also often said that this kind of violence comes from quiet apparently
    introverted people. It is also said that engineering types are commonly
    introverted and like their own thoughts.

    There is even a joke along the lines ” Q) How do you know an extrovert engineer when you meet one. A) It’s the one that looks at -your- feet when he talks to you.”

    So perhaps the correlation is more about introversion that about engineering.

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