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Institute of Criminology



  • Bettina Rottweiler is a PhD student at University College London’s Department of Security and Crime Science. Her research focuses on identifying psychological and cognitive mechanisms of radicalisation. Her analyses examine the interactional and mediating nature of risk and protective factors for violent extremism in order to understand the complex relationships underlying these processes. She works as a research assistant on the ERC-funded Grievance project.
  • Paul Gill is a Professor at University College London’s Department of Security and Crime Science. He has conducted research funded by the Office for Naval Research, the Department of Homeland Security, Public Safety Canada, DSTL, the National Institute of Justice, CREST and MINERVA. These projects focused upon various aspects of terrorist behaviour including IED development, risk assessment, terrorist network structures, and lone-actor terrorism. He currently leads the ERC-funded Grievance project

Based on their newest research findings from the UK, they examine the psychological mechanisms linking conspiracy beliefs and violent extremism, and they aim to explain why certain people engage in conspiracy thinking and how this can lead to violent extremist intentions. Research shows that extremism and belief in conspiracy theories share underlying psychological mechanisms, which arise due to certain social, existential as well as epistemic needs. However, if these psychological needs are not met, individuals might engage in coping mechanisms to restore those. As such, believe in conspiracy theories may act as a coping mechanism, which aims to satisfy important social psychological motives when these needs are threatened and thereby may increase extremist intentions.

Covenor: Professor Manuel Eisner

Places can be booked through this link


Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 15:00 to 16:30
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