Type the word “terrorism” in google and you’ll find articles on white supremacy, jihadism, and mass shootings. It’s a topic that is loaded with conflict and fraught with confusion. But what exactly counts as terrorism and what does politics have to do with it? On this episode of Thread of Evidence, Dr. John Horgan, an applied psychologist who has interviewed over 150 members of violent extremist organizations, talks about his research on political violence – what causes it, who does it, how people get out of it, and what we can do about it.
John Horgan is a Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University’s Department of Psychology where he also directs the Violent Extremism Research Group (VERG). Professor Horgan is one of the world’s leading experts on terrorist psychology. His work is widely published, with books including The Psychology of Terrorism (now in its second edition and published in over a dozen languages worldwide), Divided We Stand: The Strategy and Psychology of Ireland’s Dissident Terrorists; Walking Away from Terrorism, Leaving Terrorism Behind, and Terrorism Studies: A Reader.