Lone Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis

In cooperation with the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

11apr2017 20:00 - 21:30


Is there a lone-actor terrorist profile? And if so, how do they differ? What behaviours did lone-actor terrorists engage in prior to their attack and is there a common behavioural trajectory into lone-actor terrorism? How ‘lone’ do lone-actor terrorists actually tend to be? Are they always active on the Internet? And what role, if any, does mental illness play? With Paul Gill, senior lecturer in Security and Crime Science at University College London.

Based upon a unique dataset of 111 lone actors that catalogues the life span of the individual’s development, this programme will contain important insights into what an analysis of their behaviours might imply for practical interventions aimed at disrupting or even preventing attacks. The talk will adopt insights and methodologies from criminology and forensic psychology to provide a holistic analysis of the behavioural underpinnings of lone-actor terrorism. By focusing upon the behavioural aspects of each offender and by analysing a variety of case studies, including Anders Breivik, Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh and David Copeland, this work marks a pointed departure from previous research in the field.

About the speakers

Dr. Paul Gill is a senior lecturer in Security and Crime Science at University College London. His research examines terrorism: its causes, patterns and the actors that perpetrate terrorist attacks. He has conducted research funded by the Office for Naval Research, the Department of Homeland Security, DSTL, the European Union, and the National Institute of Justice. These projects focused upon various aspects of terrorist behavior including the IED development, creativity, terrorist network structures, and lone-actor terrorism.

Bennett Kleinberg (moderator) is doctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam (previously UCL). His research focuses on large-scale methods to terrorism prevention in an airport security context.


You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via spui25@uva.nl | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.