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Kurt Braddock: "Communication Theory and Experimental Methods in the Study of Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization"

Kurt Braddock: "Communication Theory and Experimental Methods in the Study of Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization"

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
2:30pm - 3:30pm

On Tuesday, July 25 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm at START headquarters, Kurt Braddock, Lecturer in Communication Arts and Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, will give a lecture titled "Communication Theory and Experimental Methods in the Study of Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization". The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated.

Terrorism researchers have long lamented the need for primary, experimental data in the the study of political violence, violent radicalization, and counter-radicalization. Despite the pressing need for such data, there have been few studies to combine established social-scientific theory and experimental methods to provide insight about these phenomena. This presentation will feature a discussion of two forthcoming studies that use established theory in communication science to illustrate how individuals may come to adopt terrorist ideologies. In the first study, my co-authors (fellow START alums Dr. Paul Gill and Dr. Emily Corner) and I will test the moderating effect of personality on an individual's proclivity for persuasion via terrorist narratives. In the second study, I evaluate the effectiveness of a well-established intervention in communication (i.e., communicative inoculation) for preventing persuasion via terrorist propaganda. Both studies are part of larger projects on real-world participants at risk for violent radicalization from different terrorist groups.

Kurt Braddock researches the effects of specific types of communication in the processes surrounding the use of terrorism. Specifically, Dr. Braddock’s work focuses on (a) how terrorist groups use different persuasive techniques to draw individuals to join their groups, and (b) how counter-terrorists can use similar techniques to get individuals to leave terrorist groups. He teaches a number of courses at Penn State, including CAS100B: Effective Speech, Communication in Groups, CAS553: Disaster Communication, CAS283: Communication and Information Technology, and HLS805: Terrorism, Violence, and Threats. His work has been published in a number of communication, psychology, and terrorism journals, including Communication MonographsPersonality and Individual DifferencesTerrorism and Political Violence, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.