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Is ‘Government’ and ‘Innovation’ an oxymoron? Public Sector Innovation: A Practitioner’s Perspective
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Paul Gill
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Paul Gill
How do terrorists make decisions?
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Nick Donnelly, Anne Hillstrom, Natalie Mestry
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The psychology of interoperability: A systematic review of joint working between the UK emergency services

Emergency responding requires effective interoperability, whereby different emergency teams combine efforts and expertise to contain and reduce the impact of an emergency. Within the United Kingdom, the capacity for the Emergency Services to be interoperable has been criticized by public enquiries. This systematic review had three goals to: (i) define interoperability; (ii) identify the structural principles that underpin interoperability and (iii) identify the psychological principles that outline how interoperability can be achieved. A PRISMA framework was used to identify 137 articles, including 94 articles from the systematic review, 15 articles from grey literature and 28 articles based on author expertise. We identified two structural principles of interoperability: (i) being able to communicate and exchange information effectively; and (ii) having a decentralized and flexible team network. We identified three psychological principles that informed how interoperability might be embedded in the team: (i) establishing trust between team members; (ii) developing secure team identities and (iii) building cohesive goals. We defined interoperability as a shared system of technology and teamwork built upon trust, identification, goals, communication and flexibility. Regular psychologically immersive training that targets these psychological principles will help to embed interoperability into the social fabric of multi-team systems operating in high-reliability organizations.

(From the journal abstract)


Power, N., Alcock, J., Philpot, R., & Levine, M. (2023). The psychology of interoperability: A systematic review of joint working between the UK emergency services. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 00, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12469

Authors: Nicola Power, Jennifer Alcock, Ricky Green, Mark Levine
https://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/joop.12469
The problem with the internet: An affordance-based approach for psychological research on networked technologies

The internet is often viewed as the source of a myriad of benefits and harms. However, there are problems with using this notion of “the internet” and other high-level concepts to explain the influence of communicating via everyday networked technologies on people and society. Here, we argue that research on social influence in computer-mediated communication (CMC) requires increased precision around how and why specific features of networked technologies interact with and impact psychological processes and outcomes. By reviewing research on the affordances of networked technologies, we demonstrate how the relationship between features of “the internet” and “online behaviour” can be determined by both the affordances of the environment and the psychology of the user and community. To achieve advances in this field, we argue that psychological science must provide nuanced and precise conceptualisations, operationalisations, and measurements of “internet use” and “online behaviour”. We provide a template for how future research can become more systematic by examining how and why variables associated with the individual user, networked technologies, and the online community interact and intersect. If adopted, psychological science will be able to make more meaningful predictions about online and offline outcomes associated with communicating via networked technologies.


Olivia Brown, Laura G.E. Smith, Brittany I. Davidson, David A. Ellis,(2022) The problem with the internet: An affordance-based approach for psychological research on networked technologies, Acta Psychologica, Volume 228. 

Authors: Olivia Brown, Brittany Davidson, Laura G. E. Smith, David Ellis
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2022.103650
‘Language of lies’: Urgent issues and prospects in verbal lie detection research

Since its introduction into the field of deception detection, the verbal channel has become a rapidly growing area of research. The basic assumption is that liars differ from truth tellers in their verbal behaviour, making it possible to classify them by inspecting their verbal accounts. However, as noted in conferences and in private communication between researchers, the field of verbal lie detection faces several challenges that merit focused attention. The first author therefore proposed a workshop with the mission of promoting solutions for urgent issues in the field. Nine researchers and three practitioners with experience in credibility assessments gathered for 3 days of discussion at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) in the first international verbal lie detection workshop. The primary session of the workshop took place the morning of the first day. In this session, each of the participants had up to 10 min to deliver a brief message, using just one slide. Researchers were asked to answer the question: ‘In your view, what is the most urgent, unsolved question/issue in verbal lie detection?’ Similarly, practitioners were asked: ‘As a practitioner, what question/issue do you wish verbal lie detection research would address?’ The issues raised served as the basis for the discussions that were held throughout the workshop. The current paper first presents the urgent, unsolved issues raised by the workshop group members in the main session, followed by a message to researchers in the field, designed to deliver the insights, decisions, and conclusions resulting from the discussions.


Nahari, G., Ashkenazi, T., Fisher, R. P., Granhag, P. A., Hershkovitz, I., Masip, J., Meijer, E., Nisin, Z., Sarid, N., Taylor, P. J., Verschuere, B., & Vrij, A. (2019). Language of Lies: Urgent issues and prospects in verbal lie detection research. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 24, 1-23.

Authors: Galit Nahrari, Tzachi Ashkenazi, Ronald P. Fisher, Pär-Anders Granhag, Irit Hershkowitz, Jaume Masip, Ewout Meijer, Zvi Nisin, Paul Taylor, Bruno Verschuere, Aldert Vrij
https://doi.org/10.1111/lcrp.12148
Extending the verifiability approach framework: The effect of initial questioning

The verifiability approach (VA) is a lie-detection tool that examines reported checkable details. Across two studies, we attempt to exploit liar's preferred strategy of repeating information by examining the effect of questioning adult interviewees before the VA. In Study 1, truth tellers (n = 34) and liars (n = 33) were randomly assigned to either an initial open or closed questioning condition. After initial questioning, participants were interviewed using the VA. In Study 2, truth tellers (n = 48) and liars (n = 48) were interviewed twice, with half of each veracity group randomly assigned to either the Information Protocol (an instruction describing the importance of reporting verifiable details) or control condition. Only truth tellers revised their initial statement to include verifiable detail. This pattern was most pronounced when initial questioning was open (Study 1) and when the information protocol was employed (Study 2). Thus, liar's preferred strategy of maintaining consistency between statements appears exploitable using the VA.


Harvey, A., Vrij, A., Leal, S., Sariktas, G., & Nahari, G. (2017). Extending the Verifiability Approach framework: Examining the effect of preliminary questioning on the VA procedure. Submitted to Applied Cognitive Psychology, 32, 787-804.

Authors: Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal, Adam Charles Harvey, George Sarikas, Louise Jupe, Galit Nahrari
https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3465
An Inventory of Problems–29 (IOP–29) study investigating feigned schizophrenia and random responding in a British community sample

Compared to other Western countries, malingering research is still relatively scarce in the United Kingdom, partly because only a few brief and easy-to-use symptom validity tests (SVTs) have been validated for use with British test-takers. This online study examined the validity of the Inventory of Problems–29 (IOP–29) in detecting feigned schizophrenia and random responding in 151 British volunteers. Each participant took three IOP–29 test administrations: (a) responding honestly; (b) pretending to suffer from schizophrenia; and (c) responding at random. Additionally, they also responded to a schizotypy measure (O-LIFE) under standard instruction. The IOP–29’s feigning scale (FDS) showed excellent validity in discriminating honest responding from feigned schizophrenia (AUC = .99), and its classification accuracy was not significantly affected by the presence of schizotypal traits. Additionally, a recently introduced IOP–29 scale aimed at detecting random responding (RRS) demonstrated very promising results.

(From the journal abstract)


Winters, C. L., Giromini, L., Crawford, T. J., Ales, F., Viglione, D. J., & Warmelink, L. (2020). An Inventory of Problems–29 (IOP–29) study investigating feigned schizophrenia and random responding in a British community sample. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 1–20.

https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2020.1767720
Behavioral consistency in the digital age

Efforts to infer personality from digital footprints have focused on behavioral stability at the trait level without considering situational dependency. We repeat Shoda, Mischel, and Wright’s (1994) classic study of intraindividual consistency with data on 28,692 days of smartphone usage by 780 people. Using per app measures of ‘pickup’ frequency and usage duration, we found that profiles of daily smartphone usage were significantly more consistent when taken from the same user than from different users (d > 1.46). Random forest models trained on 6 days of behavior identified each of the 780 users in test data with 35.8% / 38.5% (pickup / duration) accuracy. This increased to 73.5% / 75.3% when success was taken as the user appearing in the top 10 predictions (i.e., top 1%). Thus, situation-dependent stability in behavior is present in our digital lives and its uniqueness provides both opportunities and risks to privacy.

(From the journal abstract)


Shaw, H., Taylor, P., Ellis, D. A., & Conchie, S. (2021). Behavioral consistency in the digital age [Preprint]. PsyArXiv.

Authors: Heather Shaw, Paul Taylor, David Ellis, Stacey Conchie
https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/r5wtn
To freeze or not to freeze: A culture-sensitive motion capture approach to detecting deceit

We present a new signal for detecting deception: full body motion. Previous work on detecting deception from body movement has relied either on human judges or on specific gestures (such as fidgeting or gaze aversion) that are coded by humans. While this research has helped to build the foundation of the field, results are often characterized by inconsistent and contradictory findings, with small-stakes lies under lab conditions detected at rates little better than guessing. We examine whether a full body motion capture suit, which records the position, velocity, and orientation of 23 points in the subject’s body, could yield a better signal of deception. Interviewees of South Asian (n = 60) or White British culture (n = 30) were required to either tell the truth or lie about two experienced tasks while being interviewed by somebody from their own (n = 60) or different culture (n = 30). We discovered that full body motion–the sum of joint displacements–was indicative of lying 74.4% of the time. Further analyses indicated that including individual limb data in our full body motion measurements can increase its discriminatory power to 82.2%. Furthermore, movement was guilt- and penitential-related, and occurred independently of anxiety, cognitive load, and cultural background. It appears that full body motion can be an objective nonverbal indicator of deceit, showing that lying does not cause people to freeze.

(From the journal abstract)


Zee, S. van der, Poppe, R., Taylor, P. J., & Anderson, R. (2019). To freeze or not to freeze: A culture-sensitive motion capture approach to detecting deceit. PLOS ONE, 14(4), e0215000.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215000
Eliciting human intelligence: Police source handlers’ perceptions and experiences of rapport during covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) interactions

Rapport is an integral part of interviewing, viewed as fundamental to the success of intelligence elicitation. One collection capability is human intelligence (HUMINT), the discipline charged with eliciting intelligence through interactions with human sources, such as covert human intelligence sources (CHIS). To date, research has yet to explore the perceptions and experiences of intelligence operatives responsible for gathering HUMINT within England and Wales. The present study consisted of structured interviews with police source handlers (N = 24). Rapport was perceived as essential, especially for maximising the opportunity for intelligence elicitation. Participants provided a range of rapport strategies while highlighting the importance of establishing, and maintaining, rapport. The majority of participants believed rapport could be trained to some degree. Thus, rapport was not viewed exclusively as a natural skill. However, participants commonly perceived some natural attributes are required to build rapport that can be refined and developed through training and experience.

(From the journal abstract)


Nunan, J., Stanier, I., Milne, R., Shawyer, A., & Walsh, D. (2020a). Eliciting human intelligence: Police source handlers’ perceptions and experiences of rapport during covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) interactions. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 27(4), 511–537.

Authors: Jordan Nunan, Becky Milne, Ian Stanier
https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2020.1734978
What demographic attributes do our digital footprints reveal? A systematic review

To what extent does our online activity reveal who we are? Recent research has demonstrated that the digital traces left by individuals as they browse and interact with others online may reveal who they are and what their interests may be. In the present paper we report a systematic review that synthesises current evidence on predicting demographic attributes from online digital traces. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: (i) they reported findings where at least one demographic attribute was predicted/inferred from at least one form of digital footprint, (ii) the method of prediction was automated, and (iii) the traces were either visible (e.g. tweets) or non-visible (e.g. clickstreams). We identified 327 studies published up until October 2018. Across these articles, 14 demographic attributes were successfully inferred from digital traces; the most studied included gender, age, location, and political orientation. For each of the demographic attributes identified, we provide a database containing the platforms and digital traces examined, sample sizes, accuracy measures and the classification methods applied. Finally, we discuss the main research trends/findings, methodological approaches and recommend directions for future research.

(From the journal abstract)


Hinds, J., & Joinson, A. N. (2018). What demographic attributes do our digital footprints reveal? A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 13(11), e0207112.

Authors: Joanne Hinds, Adam Joinson
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207112
The Psychology of Criminal Investigation: From Theory to Practice

The contribution of psychological research to the prevention of miscarriages of justice and the development of effective investigative techniques is now established to a point where law enforcement agencies in numerous countries either employ psychologists as part of their staff, or work in cooperation with academic institutions. The application of psychology to investigation is particularly effective when academics and practitioners work together. This book brings together leading experts to discuss the application of psychology to criminal investigation.

This book offers an overview of models of investigation from a psychological and practical view point, covering topics such as investigative decision making, the presentation of evidence, witness testimony, the detection of deception, interviewing suspects and evidence-based police training. It is essential reading for students, researchers and practitioners engaged with police practice, investigation and forensic psychology.

(From the journal abstract)


Griffiths, A., & Milne, R. (Eds.). (2018). The Psychology of Criminal Investigation: From Theory to Practice (1st ed.). Routledge.

https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315637211
Do smartphone usage scales predict behavior?

Understanding how people use technology remains important, particularly when measuring the impact this might have on individuals and society. However, despite a growing body of resources that can quantify smartphone use, research within psychology and social science overwhelmingly relies on self-reported assessments. These have yet to convincingly demonstrate an ability to predict objective behavior. Here, and for the first time, we compare a variety of smartphone use and ‘addiction’ scales with objective behaviors derived from Apple's Screen Time application. While correlations between psychometric scales and objective behavior are generally poor, single estimates and measures that attempt to frame technology use as habitual rather than ‘addictive’ correlate more favorably with subsequent behavior. We conclude that existing self-report instruments are unlikely to be sensitive enough to accurately predict basic technology use related behaviors. As a result, conclusions regarding the psychological impact of technology are unreliable when relying solely on these measures to quantify typical usage.

(From the journal abstract)


Ellis, D. A., Davidson, B. I., Shaw, H., & Geyer, K. (2019). Do smartphone usage scales predict behavior? International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 130, 86–92.

Authors: David Ellis, Brittany Davidson, Heather Shaw, Kristoffer Geyer
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2019.05.004
Fascist aspirants: Fascist Forge and ideological learning in the extreme-right online milieu

Learning in extremist settings is often treated as operational, with little regard to how aspiring participants in extremist settings engage with complex and abstract ideological material. This paper examines learning in the context of the amorphous network of digital channels that compose the extreme-right online milieu. Through an in-depth qualitative analysis, we explore how well the prevailing model of extremist ideological learning (in ‘communities of practice’) accounts for the behaviour of aspiring participants of Fascist Forge, a now-defunct extreme-right web forum. The findings suggest that some of the social aspects of communities of practice have been replicated in the online setting of Fascist Forge. However, for a combination of technical and ideological reasons, the more directed and nurturing aspects of learning have not. Several issues are raised about the role of ideological learning in online communities, notably the open accessibility of extremist material, the lack of ideological control leading to potential mutation and innovation by self-learners, and the role of digital learning in the preparation, shaping and recruitment of individuals for real world organising and activism.

(From the journal abstract)


Lee, B., & Knott, K. (2021). Fascist aspirants: Fascist Forge and ideological learning in the extreme-right online milieu. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 1–25.

Authors: Ben Lee, Kim Knott
https://doi.org/10.1080/19434472.2020.1850842
Why do people spread false information online? The effects of message and viewer characteristics on self-reported likelihood of sharing social media disinformation

Individuals who encounter false information on social media may actively spread it further, by sharing or otherwise engaging with it. Much of the spread of disinformation can thus be attributed to human action. Four studies (total N = 2,634) explored the effect of message attributes (authoritativeness of source, consensus indicators), viewer characteristics (digital literacy, personality, and demographic variables) and their interaction (consistency between message and recipient beliefs) on self-reported likelihood of spreading examples of disinformation. Participants also reported whether they had shared real-world disinformation in the past. Reported likelihood of sharing was not influenced by authoritativeness of the source of the material, nor indicators of how many other people had previously engaged with it. Participants’ level of digital literacy had little effect on their responses. The people reporting the greatest likelihood of sharing disinformation were those who thought it likely to be true, or who had pre-existing attitudes consistent with it. They were likely to have previous familiarity with the materials. Across the four studies, personality (lower Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, higher Extraversion and Neuroticism) and demographic variables (male gender, lower age and lower education) were weakly and inconsistently associated with self-reported likelihood of sharing. These findings have implications for strategies more or less likely to work in countering disinformation in social media.

(From the journal abstract)


Buchanan, T. (2020). Why do people spread false information online? The effects of message and viewer characteristics on self-reported likelihood of sharing social media disinformation. PLOS ONE, 15(10), e0239666.

Author: Tom Buchanan
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239666
The role of information sharing on decision delay during multiteam disaster response

Multiteam systems (MTSs) are comprised of two or more interconnected teams working toward shared superordinate goals but with unique sub-goals. To date, research has predominantly focused on how decisions are made and has viewed these cognitive processes as occurring within individuals. However, for MTSs operating in extreme environments such as disasters, it is often not a question of how decisions are made, but what is causing delays and failures to make decisions. To understand the causes of decision delay within these complex networks, it is important to focus on decision processes at the multiteam level. Using naturalistic observational and interview data collected during a multi-site, multiteam emergency response to a large-scale disaster exercise, this study examines both information sharing (what was shared, with whom, how long this took), and decision processes across teams (situational awareness—SA, plan formulation, and plan execution). Findings demonstrate that interdependencies in cognitive processes exist across individuals where goals overlap. Decision delay is not only caused by failure to develop SA within a team preventing their ability to formulate and execute plans but also by the inability of other teams to execute their plans. The implications of these findings for developing targeted interventions are discussed.

(From the journal abstract)


Waring, S., Alison, L., Humann, M., & Shortland, N. (2019). The role of information sharing on decision delay during multiteam disaster response. Cognition, Technology & Work, 22(2), 263-279. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10111-019-00570-7)

Authors: Sara Waring, Laurence Alison, Michael Humann
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10111-019-00570-7)
Communication and coordination across event phases: A multi-team system emergency response

This paper explores how multi-agency response teams communicate and coordinate in different phases of a simulated terrorist incident. Procedural guidelines state that responders should coordinate their response to a major emergency across two phases: ‘response’ (when the incident is ongoing) and ‘recovery’ (when the threat has subsided, but the legacy of the incident is ongoing). However, no research has examined whether these phases map to the behaviours of responders in situ. To address this, we used measures of communication and coordination to examine how behaviours evolved during a simulated terrorist incident in the United Kingdom. We grounded our approach within the theoretical literature on multi-team systems. It was found that the current response/recovery classification does not fit the nuanced context of an emergency. Instead, a three-phase structure of ‘response/resolve/recovery’ is more reflective of behaviour. It was also found that coordination between agencies improved when communication networks became less centralized. This suggests that collaborative working in multi-team systems may be improved by adopting decentralized communication networks.

(From the journal abstract)


Brown, O., Power, N. and Conchie, S.M. (2021), Communication and coordination across event phases: A multi-team system emergency response. J Occup Organ Psychol.

Authors: Olivia Brown, Nicola Power, Stacey Conchie
https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12349
An evidence synthesis of strategies, enablers and barriers for keeping secrets online regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs

This systematic review attempts to understand how people keep secrets online, and in particular how people use the internet when engaging in covert behaviours and activities regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs.

With the Internet and social media being part of everyday life for most people in western and non-western countries, there are ever-growing opportunities for individuals to engage in covert behaviours and activities online that may be considered illegal or unethical.

A search strategy using Medical Subject Headings terms and relevant key words was developed. A comprehensive literature search of published and unpublished studies in electronic databases was conducted.

Additional studies were identified from reference lists of previous studies and (systematic) reviews that had similar objectives as this search, and were included if they fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Two researchers independently screened abstracts and full-texts for study eligibility and evaluated the quality of included studies. Disagreements were resolved by a consensus procedure. The systematic review includes 33 qualitative studies and one cross-sectional study, published between 2006 and 2018.

Five covert behaviours were identified: the use of communication channels; anonymity; visibility reduction; limited posts in public; following forum rules and recommendations. The same technologies that provide individuals with easy access to information, such as social networking sites and forums, digital devices, digital tools and services, also increase the prevalence of inaccurate information, loss of privacy, identity theft and disinhibited communication.

This review takes a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to synthesising knowledge on the strategies adopted by people in keeping secrets online. Whilst the focus is on the procurement and supply of illicit drugs, this knowledge is transferrable to a range of contexts where people keep secrets online. It has particular significance for those who design online/social media applications, and for law enforcement and security agencies.

(From the journal abstract)


Aikaterini Grimani, Anna Gavine and Wendy Moncur, 2020. An evidence synthesis of strategies, enablers and barriers for keeping secrets online regarding the procurement and supply of illicit drugs. International Journal of Drug Policy.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.102621

Authors: Aikaterini Grimani, Wendy Moncur, Anna Gavine
Terrorist Decision Making in the Context of Risk, Attack Planning, and Attack Commission

Terrorists from a wide array of ideological influences and organizational structures consider security and risk on a continuous and rational basis. The rationality of terrorism has been long noted of course but studies tended to focus on organizational reasoning behind the strategic turn toward violence. A more recent shift within the literature has examined rational behaviors that underpin the actual tactical commission of a terrorist offense. This article is interested in answering the following questions: What does the cost–benefit decision look like on a single operation? What does the planning process look like? How do terrorists choose between discrete targets? What emotions are felt during the planning and operational phases? What environmental cues are utilized in the decision-making process? Fortunately, much insight is available from the wider criminological literature where studies often provide offender-oriented accounts of the crime commission process. We hypothesize similar factors take place in terrorist decision making and search for evidence within a body of terrorist autobiographies.

(From the journal abstract)


Paul Gill, Zoe Marchment, Emily Corner, and Noémie Bouhana. 2018. ‘Terrorist Decision Making in the Context of Risk, Attack Planning, and Attack Commission’. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism: https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1445501.

Lessons from the Extreme: What Business Negotiators Can Learn from Hostage Negotiations

Editors’ Note: The high-stakes world of the hostage negotiator draws instinctive respect from other negotiators. But if you operate in another domain, you could be excused for thinking that hostage negotiation has nothing to do with you.

That impression, it turns out, is quite often wrong. Here, two researchers draw parallels to several kinds of business and other disputes in which it often seems that one of the parties acts similarly to a hostage taker. Understanding what hostage negotiators have learned to do in response can be a real asset to a negotiator faced with one of these situations.

(From the book abstract)


Taylor, Paul J., and William A. Donohue. 2017. ‘Lessons from the Extreme: What Business Negotiators Can Learn from Hostage Negotiations’. In Negotiator’s Desk Reference, edited by Chris Honeyman and Andrea Kupfer Schneider. DRI Press. www.ndrweb.com.

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