Parasites, Energy and Complex Systems: Generating Novel Intervention Options to Counter Recruitment to Suicide Terrorism

Mils Hills, Ashwin Mehta

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


In an extension to the parasitic analogy, 'infection' is presented as achieved through the movement of energy. The chapter focuses on exploring the concept that bundles of beliefs can usefully be thought of as influencing behaviour in the manner that biological parasites interrupt the functioning of animal models' brains. The extraordinary alterations in animal behaviour, driven by parasitic manipulation of the complex functioning of brain activity, are quite something to the uninitiated. The chapter continues and expands the line of Analogical Research (AR) first advanced in print in 2012. AR seeks to shed new light on intractable problems by exploiting analogous contexts. In this case, viewing suicide terrorism as being the product of rational actions driven by powerful bundles of memes that influence cognitive processes. The chapter has advanced extensions to the analogy of parasitic infection as a means of explaining the recruitment of individuals to extremist causes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Factors Theory and Application
EditorsGlyn Lawson, Alex Stedmon
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781315587080
ISBN (Print)9781315587080, 9780367377854
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameHostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism

Bibliographical note

First published 1st January 2015 by Ashgate (ISBN: 9781409445210)


  • Counter-terrorism
  • Suicide terrorism
  • Recruitment of terrorists
  • Unconventional approaches
  • Psychological effects
  • Parasites
  • Analogical reasoning
  • Innovative options
  • Deviant behaviour
  • Behaviour shaping


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