• Psychopathology & leadershipPresidential candidates may be psychopaths – but this is not necessarily a bad thing

    Oxford University’s Dr. Kevin Dutton has spent much of his career looking at psychopaths and researching psychopathic traits, identifying those which can be of benefit and those which can lead to incarceration. He contends that being a psychopath is not an all-or-nothing affair. Instead, psychopathy is on a spectrum along which each of us has our place. In a new study, Dutton finds that Donald Trump ranks above Adolf Hitler and only just below Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, and Henry VIII. Hillary Clinton ranks between Napoleon and Nero.

  • GunsApplying public health models to gun violence

    Research treats shootings like an epidemic — by applying public health models. Data indicate an individual’s odds of being a gunshot victim increase with exposure to gun violence. The work focuses not on mass shootings or isolated incidents of violence – rather, the researchers have worked to gather data on populations that face persistent threats of gun-related attacks and homicides, often connected to gang and drug activity.

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  • Post-conflictPost-conflict reconciliation led to societal healing, but worsened psychological health

    Civil wars divide nations along social, economic, and political lines, often pitting neighbors against each other. In the aftermath of civil wars, many countries undertake truth and reconciliation efforts to restore social cohesion, but little has been known about whether these programs reach their intended goals. A new study suggests reconciliation programs promote societal healing, but that these gains come at the cost of reduced psychological health, worsening depression, anxiety, and trauma.

  • MuslimsCalls for banning Muslims from entering U.S. impractical, harmful: Expert

    Duke sociologist Christopher Bail, who studies how anti-Muslim organizations use social media, says that calls to ban immigration of Muslims to the United States are missing two important points. First, there is no conceivable mechanism whereby the United States could identify Muslims — short of visual cues such as headdress or religious garb, which are not worn by most Muslims. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is surprising that people think that groups such as ISIS could not disguise terrorists they want to send to the United States as non-Muslims.

  • PredictionsPredicting political surprises, uprisings before they happen

    From the Arab Spring to the successful leadership bid by Jeremy Corbyn or Donald Trump’s success in the U.S. Republican campaign: Why are so many surprising things happening in politics? New research has harnessed a wealth of digital data and techniques to try to answer this question.

  • ConspiraciesLarge-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves

    If you are thinking of creating a massive conspiracy, you may be better scaling back your plans, according to new research. While we can all keep a secret, a new study suggests that large groups of people sharing in a conspiracy will very quickly give themselves away.

  • Public opinionTerrorism pushes liberals to think more like conservatives

    Liberals’ attitudes in the United Kingdom toward Muslims and immigrants became more like those of conservatives following the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, new research shows. Data from two nationally representative surveys of British citizens revealed that feelings of national loyalty increased and endorsement of equality decreased among political liberals following the terrorist attack. “Our findings show that terrorism shifts public attitudes towards greater loyalty to the in-group, less concern with fairness, and greater prejudice against Muslims and immigrants, but it seems that this effect is stronger on those who are politically left-leaning than those who are right-leaning,” explained one of the researchers.

  • Public opinionNo rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in U.K. in wake of Paris attacks: Poll

    Last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris appear not to have led to a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in Britain, a new study has shown. The new research comes amid concerns that Western public opinion may grow more hostile toward Muslims, as evidenced by the success of the Front National in the first t round of France’s regional elections three weeks ago, and the apparent popularity of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.

  • CyberterrorismThe mind of a cyberterrorist, a neglected aspect of cybersecurity

    A new study is delving into an aspect of cybersecurity rarely explored before now: the human component. The reason why this topic is lesser known, a leading expert says, is that security professionals become very focused on the technological side of responding to attacks and lack the social psychology background to analyze and understand the human being on the other side of that attack.

  • Mass shootingA woman’s involvement makes San Bernardino shooting rare among mass shootings

    The shooting in San Bernardino, California marked the 355th mass shooting in the United States in fewer than as many days in 2015. As details emerge regarding the events, it is clear that these types of crimes are morphing and not abating. “Shootings involving mission-oriented females may be a new threshold which should be concerning to all of us, and the incident in San Bernardino might just be a hybrid, and a harbinger, of shootings to come,” says an expert.

  • RadicalizationGovernments should turn to academics for advice on radicalization, religion and security

    By Tristram Riley-Smith

    Western governments are deploying a range of strategies and tactics to deal with the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State. David Cameron is recruiting more spies, and parliament is discussing profound changes to the way in which digital intelligence is collected. But we must not ignore the invaluable supply of knowledge and insight available from our men and women in academia. Research can provide evidence-based context to contemporary challenges, including an enlightened understanding of the place of religion and faith in a security context. We can stop mistakes being made in terms of misguided policies and knee-jerk reactions. And researchers can help the design and deployment of interventions that make a real difference, focusing limited resources effectively.

  • Law enforcementEffective policing depends on public trust: Report

    Public trust and confidence in the police have remained flat for several decades despite a declining crime rate in the United States, a problem that has become especially salient in the wake of recent police shootings of unarmed black men. A new report shows that policing practices focused on respectful treatment and transparent decision making are likely to be more effective than traditional punishment-based strategies in building public trust and encouraging cooperation with the police.

  • Terrorist networksOnline tool maps terrorist networks, behavior over time

    To allow a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has launched the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) online platform. The tool features updated, vetted, and sourced narratives and relationship information and social network data on fifty of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world since 1998, with additional network information on more than 100 organizations. The research team plans to expand the database and online platform to include more than 600 terrorist organizations.

  • Islam & extremismTony Blair: Many Muslims support Islamic extremists' ideology

    Tony Blair has warned that the ideology which drives Islamic extremists has significant support from Muslims around the world. Blair said that unless religious prejudice in Muslim communities is rooted out, the threat from the extremists will not be defeated. Blair, speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City, said that while the number of people engaging in violence by joining groups like Islamic State is relatively small, many of their views are widely shared.

  • Islam & extremismISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra share near identical ideologies: Report

    A just-published report analyzes a cross-section of 114 propaganda sources over two years from the three main Salafi-jihadi groups: ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The three groups share near identical ideologies, challenging the concept that “ISIS is more extreme than al-Qaeda.” Built upon distorted Islamic religious principles, the propaganda produces single-minded focus on violent jihad. The report finds explicit references to these principles throughout the propaganda: