With the help of a $716,065 grant from the National Institute of Justice in 2016, professors from the University in collaboration with those at other colleges and the Federal Bureau of Investigation combined theory with science in their study of the radicalization of women by ISIL.
During a two-part project, Janet Warren, professor in the department of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences, aided by Gregory Saathoff, professor in the departments of public health science and emergency medicine and the FBIs conflict resolution specialist, developed a framework to describe this phenomenon based on accounts of western women who devoted their lives to committing acts of terrorism.
To test their model, Warren and Saathoff turned to founding director of the School of Data Science Donald Brown for help with gathering and analyzing relevant data. Mojtaba Heidarysafa, a doctoral candidate in the department of systems and information engineering, also joined the research project during the data collection phase, in which the team enrolled women ages 18 to 35 from the University and wider Charlottesville communities who volunteered for the study and were compensated for their involvement. Participants attended one of two sessions in which researchers recorded their emotional and physiological responses to propaganda.
As a result, a general pattern emerged regarding womens reactions to certain types of violent visual stimuli, confirming the possibility that a model could be created to show how women become radicalized. The researchers hope these findings could assist in preventing women from being recruited into terrorism.
Each woman completed a consent form reviewed by the University Institutional Review Board. Researchers provided women with the ability to discontinue their involvement in the study at any point and reimbursed them regardless of whether or not they completed the study. Furthermore, each participant had access to a tamer set of images, of which two women took advantage, as well as guidance after the study if she felt deeply affected.
Warren noted that similar studies often focus on men. But her consultant work with the FBIs counterterrorism efforts inspired her to consider the ramifications for women, Warren immediately considered the ramifications for women.
I thought it would be really interesting, as we were all together in these meetings talking about risk assessment and terrorism, for the first time to start a study on women, Warren said. Most research done on very violent crime is done on men I have often followed these huge areas of research and asked, How does this apply to women?
Saathoff collaborated with Warren to understand the overall trajectory of womens conversion to terrorism. He stressed the need to characterize the process not only as a means of pursuing criminals but also as a means to provide insights and strategies that could protect women from plots to recruit them.
In society we often learn through media anecdotes, and that is one way to become aware of these issues, but to truly understand the situation, its important to understand how this occurs in a large number of cases, Saathoff said.
First, Warren, Saathoff and their partners constructed a risk assessment model to outline the radicalization process. To successfully summarize and explain that transformation, the team hoped to find 300 women with sufficiently detailed court and investigation records but doubted the feasibility of that goal. When they uncovered almost five times as many women, researchers chose to analyze the 300 with the most robust court and investigative reports.
Over the next couple of years, Warren, Saathoff and their research team produced a risk assessment model that identifies not only aspects of a persons life that could increase the likelihood of her radicalization, but also preventative measures to proactively impede radicalization efforts. The hope was to generate a cohesive framework for analysis of potentially dangerous individuals for use in government agencies.
We were trying to do something that integrated what people in different countries were talking about, what we thought was interesting, what was in our academic research and make something that was more translational and international in terms of its broadness, Warren said.
The model incorporates the theory that risk and protective factors can be viewed as two ends of a spectrum. The factors in and of themselves are not diametrically opposed aspects of a persons life. Rather, their intensity and outlets determine someones likelihood to adhere to extremist beliefs.
Warrens three-stage framework pinpointed these elements. Beginning with the propensity for radicalization, individuals can transition to mobilization and eventually action and capacity for terrorist exploits. Key factors that dictate progression from state to state include morality, self-regulation, setting, physical activity and perception of alternatives.
Many women we have found who embrace this new identity are doing that because of unhappiness with their current situation, Saathoff said. Travel to another country is sometimes an escape, and its facilitated by those who would specifically tailor the message to the individual person Its remarkable how compelling and powerful that seduction can be.
Second, the team looked to Donald Brown, founding director of the School of Data Science, for help with gathering concrete evidence to support their theory, specifically as it relates to propaganda. Warren cited propaganda as a powerful recruitment tool that can persuade people to completely change their outlook. Though many studies dissecting the conscious reactions to materials disseminated by extremist organizations exist, Warren emphasized the lack of research on physiological indicators of emotional responses.
We actually know what people are thinking consciously, but weve got to try and grab some data about how theyre reacting unconsciously and see whats more powerful, or were never going to get a handle on [propaganda], Warren said.
According to Mojtaba Heidarysafa, doctoral candidate in the department of systems and information engineering who joined the research team for data collection, the initial phase of the data collection portion of the project consisted of 45 women probing the internet for content they believed could contribute to radicalization campaigns.
With the permission of the University Information Security Department and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, researchers enabled women to investigate the dark web, a conglomeration of networks with restricted access that facilitate anonymous, illicit interactions. The U.S. National Security Agency reports that terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda utilize the dark web to maintain communication across their global network, as well as recruit new individuals to their cause.
We were also able to [connect] women and allow them to go into the dark web if that was something they were interested in doing, Warren said. The University was fantastic in giving us the freedom we needed to pursue this.
An additional 45 women who identified themselves as Muslim, non-Muslim conservative and non-Muslim liberal attended four sessions in which they viewed a series of images depicting extremist activities. During these sessions, researchers monitored eye gaze, pupil dilation, heart rate and galvanic skin response which tracks sweat gland activity to determine the arousal level and emotional state of participants.
While the first session contained neutral pictures of everyday objects to create a baseline for participant responses, subsequent sessions depicted white nationalist campaign posters and violent acts by jihadist, alt-right and alt-left groups.
We showed them all of these pictures, Heidarysafa said. When looking at hangings or beheadings, all of them had a non-neutral arousal response What we found was that no matter the background, there was a reaction.
In fact, Warren, Heidarysafa and Brown contributed to a pending publication that suggests pupil dilation and the aspects of images that attracted womens gaze were largely consistent across participants, regardless of their religious or political affiliations. In other words, the pictures play a larger role in individuals emotional response than certain major components of their identity. The authors of the study claim the commonalities point to patterns applicable to multiple cases of radicalization.
As this preliminary research project draws to a close, with a portion of the final papers and the results published in 2018 and 2019 and more to come in 2020, Warren said she and her colleagues already applied for an additional grant to expand their efforts and replicate the study with men. In doing so, Warren aims to take full advantage of the resources at the University to create materials useful for the FBIs observations of and interventions for at-risk individuals.
Usually academic researchers dont work with the FBI, and the FBI doesnt necessarily want to work with academic researchers, Warren said. The most important thing is the relationships exist so that we could do this research.
Originally posted here:
- Netflix launches its first TV channel that streams shows just like regular telly - The Sun - November 13th, 2020
- Hungarian Press Roundup: No Compromise in Sight over Theatre and Film University - Hungary Today - September 8th, 2020
- Slow Joe Biden is a few fries short of a Happy Meal: Howie Carr - Boston Herald - September 8th, 2020
- [OPINION] Law and order president? The chaos and violence Trump wants you to be fearful and hateful of is happening now under his watch - Asian... - September 8th, 2020
- Here's Why You Should Never Use the Term "Alt-Left" - POPSUGAR - September 8th, 2020
- With Republicans like these, who needs Ds? - The Highland County Press - September 2nd, 2020
- Resident Evil survival horror TV series is coming to Netflix and fans think its the next Stranger Things - The Sun - September 2nd, 2020
- Checking In With the Newsletter Economy - New York Magazine - September 2nd, 2020
- Say Goodbye to IITs, IIMs Et Al? NEP 2020 Will Convert Indias Top Institutions Into JNU Copies - Swarajya - August 10th, 2020
- What is the "alt-left" Trump was talking about? - CBS News - August 7th, 2020
- Is There an 'Alt-Left'? - Snopes.com - August 7th, 2020
- Antifa Berkeley: Why the 'Alt-Left' Is a Problem | Time - August 7th, 2020
- Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist ... - August 7th, 2020
- McCarthyite witch-hunt over alleged anti-Semitism explodes in British Labour Party - WSWS - August 3rd, 2020
- Howie Carr: Alt-left media still cling to their Big (Russia) Lie - Boston Herald - July 28th, 2020
- What Is Alt-Left? Here's What You Really Need to Know - July 23rd, 2020
- What Is the 'Alt-Left'? For Starters, Not a Thing | WIRED - July 23rd, 2020
- Why the Alt-Left Is a Problem, Too | Vanity Fair - July 23rd, 2020
- Netflix launches shuffle button that plays a random show for viewers who dont know what to watch - The Sun - July 23rd, 2020
- The Shot Heard Roundand Round and Roundthe World - The Dispatch - July 12th, 2020
- The Rising Blood Tide of The Alt-Left & the Real Threat of Antifa - AmmoLand Shooting Sports News - July 12th, 2020
- As shul reopens, can we make it more welcoming to Orthodox women? - Forward - June 22nd, 2020
- End the Civil War Before It Starts: Vote Engel and Schleifer - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com - June 22nd, 2020
- Conservative Jews: Do you care about Israel? Then vote Trump out - Forward - June 21st, 2020
- COVID-19 UPDATE: East Hampton Testing Site To Open May 15 - 27east.com - May 9th, 2020
- AltLeft Shuts Down Toronto Comedy Show Over Words 'Free ... - May 3rd, 2020
- Essential Mac keyboard shortcuts and key combinations - Macworld UK - May 3rd, 2020
- Living in an Italy consumed by fear - The Spectator USA - March 27th, 2020
- Hungarian Press Roundup: Weeklies on the State of Emergency - Hungary Today - March 27th, 2020
- Netflix is testing cheap new mobile-only plan that costs just 2.40 a month - The Sun - March 16th, 2020
- Howie Carr: Its time to wake up sleepy Joe Biden - Boston Herald - March 16th, 2020
- Life under lockdown: Italy is being consumed by panic - Spectator.co.uk - March 16th, 2020
- The Death Throes of the Failed Sandernista Revolution - Real Context News - March 16th, 2020
- Netflix trialling 2.99 cheapest ever plan but it only works on smartphones or tablets - The Sun - February 12th, 2020
- Netflix offers first-ever FREE movie that you dont need account to watch - The Sun - February 12th, 2020
- Netflix FINALLY lets you turn those annoying autoplaying trailers off heres how - The Sun - February 12th, 2020
- Netflix FORCED to remove nine movies after government objections including boozy Jesus party film - The Sun - February 12th, 2020
- One of the Vail Valley's fur-baby favorites, Dr. Julie Alt, is calling it a career - Vail Daily News - January 30th, 2020
- Everything Paradox Interactive Announced At PDXCON 2019 - Kotaku Australia - October 24th, 2019
- Netflix vows crackdown on users who share logins with pals or family and could make you pay EXTRA - The Sun - October 24th, 2019
- Dont like the facts? Just Schiff the narrative - Boston Herald - October 1st, 2019
- UI Events KeyboardEvent code Values - World Wide Web ... - June 3rd, 2019
- Automate the Boring Stuff with Python - June 3rd, 2019
- AltLeft.com "The Left of the AltRight" - May 2nd, 2019
- Andrew Yang Rejects Support From White Nationalists ... - May 1st, 2019
- Lionel Nation - YouTube - April 22nd, 2019
- The Politically Incorrect Australian - April 22nd, 2019
- KNOPPIX 8.1.0 - Linux Live System - knopper.net - March 5th, 2019
- KNOPPIX 7.7.1 - Linux Live System - January 4th, 2019
- Jacobs Email - IT - Teamwork at Jacobs University - January 4th, 2019
- KNOPPIX 7.4.2 / ADRIANE 1.7 - Live CD / DVD - December 19th, 2018
- Alt-Left Melts Down Over "Unmasking Antifa" Act | Zero Hedge - December 19th, 2018
- Virginia Election Predictions: Will Weather Rain on ... - August 24th, 2018
- What is the Alt Left? - American Greatness - June 29th, 2018
- John McCain: Dying Without Dignity - committedconservative.com - June 10th, 2018
- KNOPPIX 8.0.0 - Linux Live System - May 25th, 2018
- Protesters Try to Shut Down Jordan Peterson at Queen's ... - April 27th, 2018
- KNOPPIX 8.1.0 - Linux Live System - March 19th, 2018
- Robert Stark Talks to Ashley Messinger About ... - altleft.com - March 18th, 2018
- Jordan Towers 70news - March 7th, 2018
- A Clockwork Greenshirt Introducing the Alt Left ... - February 6th, 2018