Behavioural Analytics

Can organised crime be prevented by predicting people’s characteristics, networks, and intentions from the way they have previously behaved? This new programme takes advantage of technological advancements and data from ‘social signals’ to assess the threat of actors and make inferences about their likely actions. This programme is led by Paul Taylor, Stacey Conchie and David Ellis at Lancaster University.

Work in this programme is focused on understanding what can be inferred about groups from streams of behavioural data. Our efforts are unashamedly theory driven and much of the programme’s focus is on deriving more efficient measures through a solid understanding of what aspects of behaviour matter (i.e., correspond) to the inference in question. This approach seeks to dramatically decrease the complexity of the data model rather than find more efficient ways to handle the complexity. Our work includes examining digital traces of behaviour that are produced through a person’s use of technology and the internet.

Research Focus

Specifically, the early focus of this programme conducts original research exploring:

  • How criminal group activity to be understood in real time.
  • How behavioural markers can reveal characteristics about organised crime groups.
  • How a group’s behaviour can predict how successful they’ll be in fulfilling their criminal intent.
  • How language markers in digital communication can predict the effectiveness of criminal groups.

 Research Findings

 So far, this programme has generated insights such as:

  • Providing groups with mis-information when undergoing a group task reduces their language co-ordination.
  • The age and gender of a person can be predicted from their smartphone behaviours such as screen time and application use.

A synthesis of papers which use language style matching to understand conversation patterns has also been created and published here: https://psyarxiv.com/yz4br/

Topics of future investigation

 Future directions of the programme aim to assess behavioural analytics in order to:

  • Understand the relative value of social sensor data for remote assessment.
  • Explore ‘atypical’ or ‘suspicious’ patterns of behaviour that may indicate an imminent attack.
  • Assess behaviour longitudinally and identify behavioural anomalies which may be a precursor of criminal behaviour.

Principle Investigator

Paul Taylor

Institution

Lancaster University

People

 

Outputs

“Tell me more about this…”: An examination of the efficacy of follow-up open questions following an initial account

In information gathering interviews, follow‐up questions are asked to clarify and extend initial witness accounts. Across two experiments, we examined the efficacy of open‐ended...Read More »

From data to datum: What should I do in this case?

At the heart of many scientific efforts to help security professionals is a mathematical challenge. One that has occupied the minds of biologists, sociologists,...Read More »

Heather Shaw

Senior Research Associate, Lancaster University Heather holds a BSc in Psychology and is studying how digital traces of behaviour can infer individual differences about...Read More »

Psychological and Behavioral Examinations of Online Terrorism

It has long been recognised that terrorists make use of the internet as one of many means through which to further their cause. This...Read More »

Same Kind of Different: Affordances, Terrorism, and the Internet

The rapid development of the Internet as a cornerstone of private and social life has provoked a growing effort by law enforcement and security...Read More »

Can Programming Frameworks Bring Smartphones into the Mainstream of Psychological Science?

Smartphones continue to provide huge potential for psychological science and the advent of novel research frameworks brings new opportunities for researchers who have previously...Read More »

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...Read More »

Predicting Collective Action from Micro-Blog Data

Global and national events in recent years have shown that social media, and particularly micro-blogging services such as Twitter, can be a force for...Read More »

Mimicry in Online Conversations: An Exploratory Study of Linguistic Analysis Techniques

A number of computational techniques have been proposed that aim to detect mimicry in online conversations. In this paper, we investigate how well these...Read More »

The Benefits of a Self-Generated Cue Mnemonic for Timeline Interviewing

Reliable information is critical for investigations in forensic and security settings; however, obtaining reliable information for complex events can be challenging. In this study,...Read More »

Culture Moderates Changes in Linguistic Self-Presentation and Detail Provision When Deceiving Others

Change in our language when deceiving is attributable to differences in the affective and cognitive experience of lying compared to truth telling, yet these...Read More »

A Week Without Lying: The Honesty Experiment

Is it possible to go a week without lying? Producers for the BBC’s Horizon programme wanted to find out and CREST Researchers Paul Taylor,...Read More »

Communicating across cultures

Paul Taylor writes about the difficulties of communicating across cultures, and why these matter. From small talk to empathising, he outlines some of the...Read More »

The Director’s Report

Professor Paul Taylor, director of CREST, has published a report on CREST’s key achievements. This past academic year has seen the idea of an...Read More »

7 things worth knowing about groups

We’re all members of groups that we want to succeed. But what if we want some groups, like terrorist cells, to fail? We talked...Read More »

Apple or Android? What your choice of operating system says about you

Your mobile phone provides all kinds of useful data about what you do, and where. But does even the choice of handset say something...Read More »

Masterclass in eliciting intelligence information

CREST Researchers delivered a masterclass on intelligence interviewing to over fifty practitioners from European government, police and military organisations. The day covered new techniques...Read More »

The A to Z of Information elicitation

Do you know your phishing from your baselining? This handy A-Z guide gives an overview of the key words in information elicitation. Active listening,...Read More »

The future of wearable technology

Your watch will soon know you better than you know yourself… From mobile phones to smart watches and glasses, wearable technology isn’t just the...Read More »

The promise of social science

What can social science offer our understanding of security problems? CREST Director Paul Taylor outlines some of the successes and challenges. From understanding what...Read More »