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Terrorist Behavior, Security and Military Operations, Assistant professor, School of Criminology and Justice Studies
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Millions of dollars are funneled into campaigns to counter extremism, but we need a better idea of what actually works to stem the recruitment of people into terrorist cells. We need to start with models of human behavior that have already been validated, not with theories of radicalization. Old-school psychology is the place to start.
Terrorism Behavioral Expert
Neil Shortland is an internationally recognized expert on terrorist behavior, counterterrorism and the socio-psychological issues faced by military operations and deployed forces. He is the director of the UMass Lowell
Center for Terrorism and Security Studies
A forensic psychologist, he is leading a U.S. Department of Defense
Minerva Research Initiative
study that examines the effectiveness of extremist propaganda available online and how responsive people with different personality traits are to that messaging. His research also includes investigating the thought processes behind how military personnel make choices in life-or-death situations. He’ll use the results of this work to better train not only troops but civilian first-responders to enhance their decision-making skills in high-stakes situations.
At UMass Lowell, Shortland’s students have won national acclaim for creating public-service campaigns that educate the public about terrorism and the methods radical groups use to recruit individuals to their ranks. He teaches in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies.
For more information, click
to visit Shortland’s academic profile.
In the Media
Why are authorities slow to call the Ohio State attack “terrorism?”
The Christian Science Monitor