9/11, Fear, and Politics

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Six years tomorrow. Six years since 9/11.

It's getting to be a long time. Maybe now it's time to look at where we've been. If Pearl Harbor galvanized the nation in one direction, 9/11 galvanized it in many. Pro-war, anti-war, right, left, and scattered center.

Politicians and pundits have analyzed how and why. Now the psychologists are stepping in — and focusing on the impact of fear. Research finds the mere mention of death changes minds. The image of the Twin Towers exploding is a psychological supernova.

This hour On Point: where our minds have been since 9/11.Guests:

Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College and co-author of "In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror."

Martha Stout, clinical psychologist and former faculty member at Harvard Medical School, author of "The Paranoia Switch: How Terror Rewires Our Brains and Reshapes Our Behavior — and How We Can Reclaim Our Courage."

Graham Allison, professor of government and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, author of "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe."

This program aired on September 10, 2007.


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