Mind experts explain why it's easy for ISIS to recruit psychopaths and turn them into terrorists

To ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, there is no such thing as brutality as seen through the 'lens of Western rationality,' according to analysts.Reuters

The jihadist organisation Islamic State (ISIS) has been making headlines for the deadly terror attacks that its followers have launched in Iraq, Lebanon, France, Mali, Turkey and United States. The sheer brutality and cruelty of these attacks makes people wonder what goes on in the minds of these ISIS militants.

Mind experts say various scientific studies conducted in the fields of psychology and neuroscience could explain why psychopaths have a tendency to be attracted and convinced by ISIS' propaganda and ultimately recruited by the terrorist group.

First, what is a psychopath? This is an individual suffering from a personality disorder that makes them antisocial, unstable and aggressive, causing the person to exhibit violent social behaviour, the experts say.

This kind of personality fits into the profile of what the ISIS is looking for to further its goal of capturing territory and sowing global terrorism inspired by fundamentalism, they add.

An article posted on RawStory.com explains that psychopaths have a dysfunctional prefrontal cortex, or the area at the front of the brain which controls good decision making, impulses and emotions.

A specific area in this brain region, called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, also mediates social and decision-making functions, experts say.

This would explain why ISIS members tend to be impulsive, aggressive and socially destructive, going to the extent of publicly killing others, the experts further note.

Moreover, the dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex makes a psychopath have an impaired ability to doubt things, a tendency which psychologists and neuroscientists call "doubt deficit," according to the Raw Story article.

This "doubt deficit" would explain why psychopaths will readily accept and not scrutinise pro-ISIS propaganda when they are exposed to it. These people are very vulnerable to brainwashing and radicalisation, the experts say.

Furthermore, the ISIS exploits the scientific principle that the brain tends to naturally accept, and not reject, beliefs. This happens because acceptance is an easier task, without the need for the evaluation phase, scientists say.