• Societies with rigid cultural values produce more terrorists

    Examining more than 80,000 terrorist attacks which occurred between 1970 and 2007, researchers find that cultural values and norms which promote rigid thinking are related to a greater number of terrorist attacks or fatalities. Societies that have the belief that one’s destiny and life events are predetermined (fatalism), have very strong norms and severe punishments for deviation from norms (cultural tightness), and those that privilege masculinity and have very distinct gender roles (low gender egalitarianism) have higher terrorism rates than those that are low on these dimensions.

  • Violent hate crimes, lone-wolf terrorism share characteristics

    Researchers examined the timing, locations, methods, targets, and geographic distributions of lone-actor terrorist attacks, group-based terrorist attacks, and violent hate crimes that occurred in the United States between 1992 and 2010. They found that locations where the 101 lone-actor terrorism incidents occurred shared more demographic similarities with the locations of the 46,000 violent hate crimes than with the locations of 424 group-based terrorist attacks over the time period.

  • DHS finds no racial profiling at Logan Airport

    An August 2012 allegation of racial profiling by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers sparked an investigation into the screening practices of TSA officers at Logan International Airport. DHS has recently concluded an investigation into allegations, and concluded that there was no evidence that TSA officers in Boston have been targeting minorities for additional screening to meet quotas.

  • The arithmetic of gun control and gun violence

    The most comprehensive statistical study of gun violence in the United States – examining data going back to the First World War – finds that, in more common domestic and one-on-one crimes, reduced legal gun availability, if properly enforced, is likelier to lower deaths. In rare mass shootings, armed citizens might save lives if sufficiently trained to avoid accidentally shooting fleeing bystanders. The authors note, though, that key parts of their equations should be studied more closely: the fraction of offenders who illegally possess a gun, the statistical degree of protection provided by legal gun ownership, and the number of people who are legally carrying a gun when attacked. Comprehensive data in those areas, they say, could further aid the development and implementation of effective policies.

  • Research priorities for understanding public health aspects of gun-related violence

    A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) proposes priorities for a research agenda to improve understanding of the public health aspects of gun-related violence. The committee which wrote the report said significant progress can be achieved in three to five years through a research program that addresses five high-priority areas: the characteristics of gun violence, risk and protective factors, prevention and other interventions, gun safety technology, and the influence of video games and other media.

  • Overconfident, introverted people more likely to be e-mail phishing victims

    New study shows that people who are overconfident, introverted, or women are less able accurately to distinguish between legitimate and phishing e-mails. Phishing is the use of fraudulent e-mail correspondence to obtain passwords and credit card information, or to send viruses.

  • The differences between impulsive and predatory murderers

    A pioneering study finds distinct differences between two types of murderers: impulsive murderers and predatory, or premeditated, murderers. Impulsive murderers were much more mentally impaired, particularly cognitively impaired, while predatory or premeditated murderers exhibit deeper psychiatric disorders.

  • Steering clear of tipping points – and economic collapses

    A new study shows how specific parameters can help us steer clear of tipping points in dynamic systems, such as entire economies. By managing macro-economic parameters, scientists believe it is possible to steer an economy around irreversible changes in its complex dynamics and avert potential economic disasters.

  • The contribution of social bonds to resilience in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy

    A survey reveals new information about the importance of social and community bonds in recovery from a disaster like Superstorm Sandy. The survey data illustrate how important the help of friends, family, and neighbors can be in getting people back on their feet after natural disasters. These crucial social bonds are often overlooked as policy discussions tend to focus on the role that official institutions have in fostering resilience.

  • TSA’s behavior detection program not cost effective: DHS IG

    DHS Inspector General (IG) has released a 41-page report last week stating that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cannot ensure that its behavior detection program, known as the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) is objective or cost-effective.

  • Fighting effectively without committing war crimes

    Combat troops must minimize the humanness of their enemies in order to kill them. They cannot be effective fighters if they are distracted by feelings of empathy for opponents. Indifference to the enemy, rather than loathing, however, may help prevent war crimes and provide troops with a better path back to healthy civilian lives, researchers say.

  • Canada’s crime-rate calculation method significantly underestimates actual crime numbers

    The government of Canada is using a method called “capping” to measure crime in Canada. Capping is a common methodological practice used in most victimization surveys. Researchers find, however, that the technique significantly underestimates the number of crimes — especially the violent kinds — that occur in Canada.

  • Arab Spring protests an isolated occurrence, not new Arab world trend

    As the long-term impact of the Arab Spring continues to take shape, researchers warn that the protests that swept across the Middle East and North Africa could mark more of an isolated occurrence than a permanent rise of people power in the region.

  • Why some immigrants get citizenship

    For immigrants, the path to citizenship in many countries is filled with hurdles: finding a job, learning the language, passing exams. For some people, however, the biggest obstacle of all may be one they cannot help: their country of origin.

  • Conflicting cultural identities foster political radicalism

    New research suggests that dual-identity immigrants — first-generation immigrants and their descendants who identify with both their cultural minority group and the society they now live in — may be more prone to political radicalism if they perceive their two cultural identities to be incompatible.