Conference themes

BASS18 will include theoretical, empirical and critical papers, posters and talks from any discipline on any form of past, present or future threat, which address one of the conference’s three themes: Understanding who and why; better intelligence gathering and decisions; and protective security and risk assessment. Sessions will include twenty-minute presentations, posters and five-minute lightning talks on emergent research. In addition, BASS18 will include two keynotes as well as panel sessions and various networking events.

Understanding who and why

Papers in this theme will address the subject of the actors involved in security threats, their backgrounds, beliefs, values and motivations, how they learn and communicate to internal and external audiences, and the factors that lead to disruption, disengagement and desistence from crime and violence.

Who are the perpetrators and supporters of security threats? What roles do they play in planning, recruitment, fundraising, ideological transmission and the enactment of such threats? Why, how and when do individuals or groups engage in or disengage from crime or violence? What are the processes of learning, innovation or escalation involved? And what factors and decisions lead to de-escalation, and the reporting or countering of violent extremism or criminal activity?

Better intelligence gathering and decisions

This theme addresses the issues of intelligence interviewing and information gathering from and about individuals and groups, and how they might be improved. Papers may also consider how terrorists and other criminal groups, and the services who respond to them, make decisions, anticipate and respond to critical incidents.

How can we tell if someone told a lie? What techniques can help people recall facts about an event? How are terrorist groups financed and what decisions do terrorists make to protect their security? Can social media use look unusual and how can we assess the value of the information we receive?

Protective security and risk

This theme addresses the need to better understand how we can protect ourselves, both online and in the physical world. Papers might consider how security professionals can help protect organisations and improve communication with employees, or how communities or families seek to protect themselves in the face of violent extremism or organised crime. What are the barriers to reporting friends and families suspected of extremism to the authorities, and how do people keep secrets online?

How can we patch security vulnerabilities with people rather than relying solely on technology? How can we prevent low-level breaches in security by well-meaning employees? How can we ensure that products are ‘secure by default’? What can people’s digital footprints tell us about their risk profile and vulnerabilities? Can behavioural science inform interventions to encourage more secure behaviour?

Behavioural and Social Sciences in Security, 2018 logo