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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures Communication-Based Research Related to Threats and Ensuing Behavior H. Dan O’Hair, Daniel Rex Bernard, and Randy R. Roper “Those that are the loudest in their threats are the weakest in their actions.” Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) British clergyman, sportsman, and author INTRODUCTION A threatening communication is any message that “implies or explicitly states the potential of harm delivered to targets/victims or agents acting on their behalf” (Smith, 2008b, p. 106). Understandably, risk assessment efforts analyze and evaluate direct threats and the potential for violent behavior they represent. However, research indicates that threat assessment endeavors should not be limited only to communications that contain explicit threats. Frequently, those who pose legitimate threats do not actually communicate their intentions. According to Fein and Vossekuil (1998), few assassins or attackers send direct threats to their intended targets or to law enforcement, but as many as two-thirds are known to speak or write about their intentions to others. Such violent intentions are disclosed to family, friends, or co-workers or are written about in personal journals. Recent technological trends suggest that such alarming communicative behaviors may also appear online via Internet blogs, message boards, and virtual chat rooms (e.g., Willard, 2007). Therefore, since indirect communications expressing violent intentions often exist, threat assessment efforts should target indirect as well as explicit threatening messages by would-be attackers. A more inclusive approach would consider multiple communicative activities by the potential perpetrator(s), consistent with previous studies on message strategy analysis. Message-based analyses of the phenomenon, including scaling studies to discern perceived severity and
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures descriptive approaches to determine the nature of aggressive and threatening messages, have made a major contribution to our understanding of aggressive communications (Kinney, 1994). A message-based approach is also supportive of the emerging trend in risk management that emphasizes the role of communication. In what is simply referred to as the threat assessment approach, “violence is seen as the product of an interaction among the perpetrator, situation, target, and the setting” (Reddy et al., 2001, p. 167). Analyzing multiple interactions and communicative behaviors is expected to provide valuable insight and information concerning the potential for violence. A number of propositions will guide our work here. These propositions are rooted in communication theory drawn from a discipline framed by a focus on messages, audience, and credibility.1 They are mentioned here only to frame the analysis and will not be explored in detail. Communication behavior is influenced from both cognitive and affective systems. Communication behavior can be viewed along a continuum of planned to spontaneous. Communication behavior is contextually driven. Communication behavior often involves multiple channels. The expressed intent of message strategies is not always executed. Risk/threat management requires collaborative effort among stakeholders. Risk/threat management is implicated by resource management limitations, first amendment rights, and privacy issues. The risk/threat management system is multidisciplinary, contested, and challenged with different nomenclatures. How individuals process and respond to messages varies according to personal psychological and social perspectives shaped by culture, history, experiences, and circumstances—in other words, according to their context (Lewenstein and Brossard, 2006). Because of these demands, communicators must acknowledge, tailor, and execute messages with a number of parameters in mind (O’Hair, 2004; Renn, 2009). Similar to classical rhetorical approaches to message development, the contextual model provides guidance for creating messages relevant to individuals 1 No doubt, many scholars lay claim to the concept of communication as a discipline of study. Our background and the corpora of research pursued in this project are framed primarily from journals sponsored by professional associations whose field of study is communication (e.g., National Communication Association, International Communication Association, Broadcast Education Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication).
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures in specific contexts and groups (Lewenstein, 1992; O’Hair et al., 2010; Wynne, 1995; Ziman, 1992). Against this backdrop, the areas of communication research that appear most relevant to threatening communications and actions are discussed here. Three areas of communication research that have direct implications for assessing threatening communications and behaviors are addressed. The first area concerns the internal processes of conflict and the behavioral reactions to those internal processes. The second area addresses larger domains of examination, including crisis communication, persuasive communication, and deceptive communication. Next, various modalities and channels that can influence communication and resultant behavior are discussed. Last, future directions for threat assessment are offered. THE RISE OF CONFLICT Affect, Cognition, and Emotion in Conflict Any investigation of human behavior, particularly one that focuses on intense behavioral action, would be remiss if it did not include a discussion of the affective, cognitive, and emotional components that both inform and shape communication and behavior. Although not all threats will be based on conflict, it is likely that some element of conflict is present either when a threat is made or when an individual or a group poses a threat. The body of work pertaining to communication and conflict offers a number of perspectives compatible with threatening communications. Conflict can be described as an expressed struggle between two or more interdependent individuals who perceive incompatible goals (Cahn, 1992). Typically, this struggle becomes more pronouced when the individuals perceive resources to be scarce or when goals are difficult to obtain (Hocker and Wilmot, 1998). In addition, when individuals have a vested interest in particular goals or attitude objects they may be more likely to experience emotion; consequently, they may also be more likely to engage in conflict. In short, episodes of conflict are typically loaded with negative affect connected to the interruption of goals as well as in response to another person’s communicatory reactions. To better understand how conflict plays a role in threatening communications, it is important to discuss the roots of conflict. In addition, considering that many communicators do not explicitly make threats, investigators may want to examine the manifestation of nonverbal signs of conflict. Daly et al. (1983) categorized emotions based on their affective valence (e.g., pleasant versus unpleasant), level of arousal (e.g., low versus high
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures arousal or passive versus active), and level of intensity (e.g., strong versus weak). In addition, each category can vary in intensity. For example, depression can be considered more intense than sadness; rage can be considered more intense than annoyance. Emotional intensity has been positively associated with increases in physiological changes (Guerrero and La Valley, 2006). Interestingly, a cross-cultural study conducted by Scherer and Wallbott (1994) found the physiological profiles of joy, fear, anger, sadness, shame, and guilt to be similar across 37 different countries. For example, sadness was associated with muscle tension and the feeling of a lump in the throat, whereas joy was associated with an accelerated heartbeat and an increase in temperature. Thus, individuals engaged in conflict are likely to experience physiological changes to the extent that they are emotively aroused. In fact, some level of emotional intensity is needed for interpersonal conflicts because emotional intensity is a motivational factor for engaging in conflict in the first place (Jones, 2000). Indeed, the greater the emotional intensity the more likely an individual may be to engage in conflict with a partner. The notion that individuals will experience physiological changes when emotively aroused has driven much of the research related to credibility assessment, deception detection, and the interface of technology to identify and demarcate patterns of human communication. Gottman (1994) found that during conflict high emotional intensity is associated with strong levels of physiological changes, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. Although some individuals may not overtly express threats, individuals who think they are in conflict with a particular person, policy, or agency may show nonverbal signals of conflict-related emotions. Assessments of threatening communications might find research in conflict communication helpful in examining the effects of emotional arousal on threatening communications and ensuing behavior. More specifically, studies might ask what resources are available to ascertain an individual’s affective state. Can these tools or techniques be used on large groups or in a very short amount of time? Do current techniques aimed at assessing emotional state take into account the contextual and situational conditions that may increase (or decrease) arousal? Role of Cognition in Emotion Although some emotional reaction to conflict may be visceral and largely uncontrollable, people have a tendency to recognize how and why they feel a particular way. The appraisal theory of emotion (Lazarus, 1991) argues that individuals evaluate their emotions in order to make sense or justify their emotions and/or behaviors. Although Lazarus suggests that all negative emotions are alike insofar as they stem from personal
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures goal disruption, and positive emotions stem from goal enhancement or facilitation, appraisals are made at the individual level and are fundamentally evaluative and subjective (Jones, 2000). For example, individuals or groups may have their own understanding or values of what constitutes good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair (Guerrero and La Valley, 2006). Judgments of fairness are often highly emotion laden (Planalp, 2003), and anger arises when individuals believe they are treated unfairly or badly (Canary et al., 1998). When individuals are angry because of a perceived or real injustice, they often feel warranted to become aggressive, vengeful, and even violent. In addition, direct expressions of anger have been evaluated favorably if the acts of anger were justifiable (Sereno et al., 1987). For example, families of victims that have been affected by crime often lash out at the accused party formally and informally. This type of behavior would typically not be enacted or accepted without the notion of justifiable anger. Last, attributions about the source of a conflict have been found to affect communication. Specifically, Sillars (1980) suggests that individuals may alter their communication during a conflict based on three attributions: the cause of the conflict, the intentions or personality traits of the other individual involved in the conflict, and the stability of the conflict. These attributions influence communication, behaviors, and strategies used during a conflict. In addition, individuals have a tendency to make more positive attributions about their own behavior than the behavior of others (Heider, 1958; Langdridge and Butt, 2004; Sillars et al., 2000). Future research should ask whether statements of attribution (about feelings) influence particular strategies of threatening communications and resultant behavior. The value-laden secondary attribution associated with fairness may be a particularly rich area of inquiry. If we can better understand the extent to which individuals associate fairness with both personally and mass-communicated events, the better able we may be to predict particular behaviors and threats associated with judgments of (un)fairness. Behavioral Reactions to the Elicitation of Emotion Despite the fact that the link between emotion and behavior has been well studied (cf. Ekman and Davidson, 1994; Lewis and Haviland-Jones, 2000), there remains very little consensus on the exact role emotion plays in specific behaviors. Appraisal theories (Frijda, 1987; Lazarus, 1991) suggest that there are particular action tendencies associated with emotions. Action tendencies are biologically driven coping responses to emotion. Thus, appraisal theory accounts for individual variances of emotional response to the same emotion-eliciting event. Lazarus (1991) offers three
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures characteristics that typically underlie emotion: affect (positive or negative valence), level and type of physiological arousal alteration, and core theme of the emotion-eliciting event. Different emotions are associated with different types of appraisals and action tendencies. For example, the action tendency for anger is to attack, whereas the action tendency for fear is to avoid or move away from harm. Although these action tendencies are biologically rooted, to a large degree culture may marshal or attenuate affective responses through display rules. For example, a typical action tendency toward anger may be to lash out; however, display rules govern the socially acceptable or socially desired way to display anger. For example, although an employee may become frustrated and angry at work, it is in the employee’s best interest to avoid emotional outbursts of anger. Ekman (1978) and Ekman and Friesen (1975) have posited five ways in which individuals manage emotional expression: intensify, deintensify, simulate, inhibit, and mask. Intensification of emotions occurs when individuals act as if they feel more emotion than they actually do. Deintensification of emotion occurs when individuals act as if they feel less emotion than they actually do. Simulation of emotion occurs when individuals act as if they feel an emotion they do not actually feel. Inhibition of emotion occurs when individuals act as if they do not feel an emotion they actually feel. Last, masking of emotion occurs when individuals act as if they feel an emotion that is very different from the emotion actually felt. These display rules may be used regularly, even to the extent that they are ingratiated beyond active cognition at times. However, during conflict, individuals may find it more difficult to regulate their own emotions (Gottman, 1994). Thus, despite the fact that display rules and socially accepted ways of displaying particular emotions often regulate behavior, when individuals are or believe they are in conflict with a person, an organization, a policy, or a law, for example, they may have less control over how they ultimately display their emotions. Although the idea that individuals who become so overwhelmed with an emotion have a tendency to display that emotion may not be novel, there is not necessarily a correlation between displaying an emotion (e.g., anger) and enacting threatening or violent behavior. In fact, it might be argued that displaying the overwhelming emotion may serve a cathartic purpose for a highly emotive person. The goal of this section is to further the argument that individuals under affective and emotional distress are likely to communicate this affective and emotional arousal simply because humans are unable to conceal emotional arousal at a physiological level. Future research should assess the specific types of inappropriate or violent behavior most easily predicted from conflict-driven emotions. Although anger may seem to
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures be a natural target of investigations into behavioral outbursts, research into mixed-emotion states may produce a better understanding of the (ir)rational emotion associated with inappropriate behavior. For example, jealousy is a combination of anger and sadness. Individuals who are jealous of nonexistent relationships may lash out at the target of that unrequited relationship or may turn to depressed and self-injurious behaviors. Another example of a mixed emotion is frustration; individuals who are frustrated are likely to produce nonverbal and verbal displays of their emotional arousal. Understanding how stimulus is processed during highly affective states is essential for extrapolating the connection between stimulus, cognitive and emotional appraisals, and future behavior. Conflict-Related Emotions Considering the role conflict plays in the elicitation of emotion and the role emotion may play in threatening and violent behavior, we now turn to emotions often associated with conflict. There are several different emotions associated with conflict as well as different activation levels, intensities, and affective valence. The most common emotions relevant to conflict are anger, jealousy, and hurt. Although there are other emotions associated with conflict (e.g., contempt, disgust), this discussion is limited to the most common responses. Anger Anger is the first emotion recognized as being associated with conflict. Rage, irritation, exasperation, disgust, and contempt are specific types of emotions associated with anger (Shaver et al., 1987). Angry individuals typically experience accelerated heart rate, tense or tightening muscles, rapid breathing patterns, and a flushed feeling (Scherer and Wallbott, 1994). The greater the intensity of anger the more likely the individual is to become emotionally flooded and have difficultly staying calm and rational (Gottman, 1994). As discussed earlier, one of the major causes of anger can stem from the interruption of one’s goals or sense of self-identity. Canary and colleagues (1998) identified seven possible causes of anger: identity management, aggression, frustration, fairness, incompetence, relationship threat, and predispositions. Anger is a common response when individuals feel as if their identity, public image, or face is being threatened. Anger is also a common response to aggression, or when an individual is threatened or is actually physically harmed. Frustrating situations
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures include having one’s plans interrupted, having an expectation violated negatively, feeling powerless, or experiencing perceptions of injustice. In fact, feelings of unfairness or inequity can cause extreme anger and lead to emotional flooding (Gottman, 1994). In addition, some individuals have a predisposition toward anger, caused by a personality trait, substance abuse, or chemical imbalance. Anger is typically communicated through the action tendency of attack (Lazarus, 1991). These behaviors may include verbal attacks (discussed later), physical attacks, and nonverbal disapproval (Shaver et al., 1987). However, not all instances of anger result in aggression (Canary et al., 1998). Future research could assess several aspects of anger: How might secondary appraisal processing and the development of coping strategies be implemented to “at-risk” individuals? Could preventative or responsive persuasive messages aimed at disseminating and/or teaching coping strategies be developed? Jealousy Jealousy can provide an impetus for threatening behavior. Jealousy can be defined as emotion based on the perceived threat of a relationship by a third party (White and Mullen, 1989). Jealousy can begin as an increase in arousal (Pines and Aronson, 1983) that is typically accompanied by increased heart rate and a feeling of being flushed. Anger and fear are usually central to the emotion of jealousy as well as sadness, guilt, sexual arousal, envy, and love (Guerrero et al., 2005). Jealousy can be communicated in several ways. Guerrero and Andersen (1998) identify several communicative responses to jealousy, including distributive communication (i.e., aggressive and direct forms of communication), active distancing (i.e., aggressive and indirect forms of communication), counterjealousy inductions (i.e., attempts to make another person jealous on purpose), violence toward a partner (e.g., hitting, pushing, grabbing), and violence toward objects (e.g., punching a wall, breaking a vase, tearing a photograph). In addition, jealousy has been associated with conflict styles, such as aggression and completion (Buunk, 1991), and it has been positivity correlated to aggression and violence (Simonelli and Ingram, 1998). Although aggression and violence may be responses to jealousy, nonviolent aggression is also a response to jealous emotions. Often the conflict style and the approach that an individual takes when (not) communicating are as varied as the intensity of the emotion itself.
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures Hurt Emotional hurt can best be described as feeling psychologically injured by another person (Vangelisti and Sprague, 1998). Other entities may be able to elicit emotional hurt, too. If the emotion of hurt is triggered by another person’s actions, then hurt is fundamentally an interpersonal emotion. However, individuals can experience hurt even if they only perceive to have a relationship with another individual. For example, individuals who obsess, stalk, or only perceive themselves as having a relationship with a particular individual are perfectly capable of feeling emotional hurt. Other emotions that accompany hurt include agony, anger, sadness, and suffering. Although there is no definitive research that has isolated the physiological changes that are brought on by hurt, it is likely that hurt individuals experience anger and sadness. Physiological changes associated with sadness include muscle tension, crying, quietness, and a lump in the throat (Scherer and Wallbott, 1994). Hurtful messages that attack one’s personal or relational identity are typical causes of emotional hurt (Vangelisti, 1994). Relational identity can best be described as the values, beliefs, rules, and processes involved in relational maintenance (Wood, 2000). For example, calling someone an idiot is clearly attacking their personal identity; whereas calling someone a horrible mother attacks the personal identity as well as the relational identity because there is a relational expectation for what merits a good mother. Another example would be if an individual found out that a close friend had stolen his or her property; because the theft would violate a relational rule about what it means to be close friends, the individual that had their property stolen would likely experience emotional hurt. Investigations aimed at understanding threatening and violent communications may want to focus on the emotional hurt an individual is experiencing as well as the emotional hurt that person is trying to inflict by way of threatening messages and communications with potential targets. Vangelisti has identified nine types of hurtful messages: accusations (e.g., statements about one’s faults), evaluations (e.g., statements about one’s value or worth, often in a negative way), advice (e.g., suggesting a course of action that threatens one’s sense of self), expressed desires (e.g., statements about plans that may not include another individual), informative statements (e.g., statements that disclose unflattering facts about another), threats (e.g., to demonstrate an intent to cause harm or injury to another), lies (e.g., statements that obfuscate the truth and may jeopardize a sense of trust), and jokes (e.g., making fun of or teasing someone). Hurtful messages could be caused by or be a consequence of conflict. For example, Infante (1987) suggests that argumentativeness or verbal aggressiveness may be the result of an inability by one party to articulate their point of view or to successfully argue and defend their position.
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures There are typically three types (Vangelisti and Crumley, 1998) of responses to hurtful messages: active verbal responses (e.g., verbally attacking another person, using sarcasm, asking for an explanation), acquiescence (e.g., crying, conceding, apologizing), and invulnerable responses (e.g., ignoring the hurtful message, laughing at the message, becoming quiet). Thus, when an agency or organization reaches out to a particular individual, it may inadvertently generate a hurtful message. Organizations charged with the task of examining threatening communications may want to also focus on the types of messages they compose, with an emphasis on avoiding hurtful ones. Future research should examine which behaviors are most consistent with threatening communications when motivated by jealousy and hurt feelings. Research that examines the information individuals perceive to be communicated from the target of their fixation would be helpful in determining emotional attachments related to jealousy and hurt feelings. Additional Areas for Future Research Much of the research presented in this section approaches emotions and conflict from a rational and linear perspective. Although these findings have been supported, the research conducted thus far may not be particularly illuminating when dealing with irrational and emotionally unstable individuals. For example, although the concepts of emotions and conflict have been discussed in an interpersonal context, it is possible that strangers may experience similar or the same types of emotions associated with a relationship. In fact, stalkers and obsessed individuals may believe they have an interpersonal relationship with someone who is actually a stranger. Although many of the examples may not fit a stalking or an obsessed relationship, these individuals are likely to experience the same physiological changes and display many of the same communication patterns. More cross-cultural studies need to be conducted in order to make better predictions about how individuals from different cultures deal with emotions and conflict. Ostensibly, culture plays a role in the expression of emotions; however, the extent to which culture alters the process of coping with emotions remains unclear. Scholars have long recognized the importance of investigating the human face. In particular, scholars in nonverbal communication have looked to the face to identify emotional displays in various contexts. Many verbal and nonverbal behaviors are considered to be connected to some degree to affective or emotional responses. For example, there are universal facial expressions that connect closely to different emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, and happi-
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures ness (Darwin, 1872/1998; Ekman, 1972; Ekman and Friesen, 1971; Ekman et al., 1987). Prior sections focused on the internal processes of affect, cognition, and emotion related to conflict and discussed physiological changes associated with those processes. Although conflict and related internal processes can produce particular physiological changes, the next section focuses only on the deliberate expression of conflict. Specifically, the section explores verbal aggressiveness and threat assessment. Giving Voice to Conflict: Verbal Aggressiveness and Threat Assessment Verbal aggressiveness is an individual’s inclination to attack the self-concepts of other people in an effort to cause psychological pain (Infante and Wigley, 1986). This type of aggression, in which a person initiates personal attacks against a select target or victim, is manifested through communication. Not surprisingly, verbal aggressiveness is considered a destructive form of communication (Infante et al., 1992) and an expression of hostility (Martin and Anderson, 1996). The literature suggests a number of verbally aggressive messages—character attacks, competence attacks, background attacks, physical appearance attacks, cursing, teasing, ridiculing, threats, nonverbal actions, withdrawal, physical acts, rejection, negative affect, and unfair comparisons (Infante et al., 1990; Myers and Bryant, 2008). Kinney (1994) presents a broader typology of verbal aggressiveness, specifically within the context of interpersonal interaction: attacks against group membership, personal failings, and relationship-related failings. Kinnney also suggests a dimensional structure of verbally aggressive messages composed of the (1) target, (2) form of weapon, and (3) force of weapon. To gain insight into the potential origins of verbal aggressiveness, researchers have studied the phenomenon from various angles, including a trait perspective. Personality traits and natural inclinations to communicate in a particular manner across situations are often referred to as communication predispositions (Rancer and Nicotera, 2007). Acknowledging one’s predisposition for aggressive communicatory behavior, Beatty and McCroskey (1997) asserted that “verbal aggressiveness represents expressions of inborn, biological functioning, which is antecedent to social experience” (p. 446). Early on, verbal aggressiveness was associated with hostility (Infante and Wigley, 1986) and argumentative skill deficiency (Infante, 1987). More recently, lack of responsiveness has emerged as a character trait associated with verbal aggressiveness (Martin and Anderson, 1996) and psychoticism (Heisel et al., 2003). Considering these and potentially other character traits that appear
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures units but as sources for potential collaboration. One relevant collaboration process is boundary spanning, which allows members to interact with outside stakeholders and enables them to effectively deal with ambiguities of external threats (Golden and Veiga, 2005). Boundary spanning is viewed as the coordination of experiences, values, context information, expert insight, and the actions of two or more independent organizations. Through boundary spanning, meaningful knowledge is constructed within interorganizational groups, and knowledge is shared freely through collaborative processes such as conversation and joint work (Brown and Duguid, 1991; O’Hair et al., 2010; Orr, 1990; Wenger, 1998). The fields of information science and management studies offer a plentiful stream of studies related to boundary spanning, with many having a focus on knowledge management (Kogut and Zander, 1992; Larsson et al., 1998; Rosenkopf and Nerkar, 2001). Boundary spanning includes working together with organizations, coordinating activities, and mobilizing resources in the community. Knowledge networks often have the responsibility to formally or informally establish and maintain communication patterns across organizations (Alexander, 1995). At this level, boundary-spanning information systems integrate information flow and coordinate work across “islands” of knowledge (Lamb and Davidson, 2000; Markus et al., 2002). The creation of shared knowledge is feasible when organizations share and improvise local practices through membership in the same work group (Gasson, 2005). By belonging to a community of organizations, mutual engagement in joint enterprise utilizes a shared repertoire of resources (Wenger, 1998). Not only do individual participants belong to multiple communities of practice, “their multiple memberships provide a mediating mechanism that permits the spanning of boundaries between these communities” (Wenger, 1998, p. 123). Future studies should investigate how dimensions of interorganizational collaboration can positively affect data exchange and threat management among organizations in the intelligence and law enforcement communities. Although this paper provides several areas of inquiry, several other factors have not been fully developed. The very nature of communication actions, the medium through which they are transmitted, and the ultimate intentions form a unique intersection for each individual. At first glance, this might seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. However, communication and behavior are inextricably linked, and the better this connection can be understood, the more likely it is that future predictions about behavior can be made. Moreover, current communication-based theory and methods should be used to both assess the relationship between communication and threatening behavior and develop communication strategies aimed at shifting values, attitudes, beliefs, and behav-
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Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures iors. Thus, communication research could be used to develop messages aimed at reducing threatening communications and behaviors. It is hoped that, by identifying these areas of communication research, focused inquiry can be generated. More questions were generated than answered in this literature review, and many thorny issues are unlikely to be resolved without a substantial expenditure of resources. The goal of shedding light on the relationship between communication and actual behavior will mostly be accomplished through a triangulation of observational, actuarial, experimental, and case study research. The propositions offered at the outset of this paper suggest that communication theory and practice are intrinsic to the study of threatening behaviors and that finding strategies for managing violent behavior against others will be served by addressing even the most demanding research conundrums. REFERENCES Abramson, J.S., and B.B. Rosenthal. 1995. Interdisciplinary and interorganizational collaboration. In R.L. Edwards, ed., The Encyclopedia of Social Work, 19th ed., vol. 2 (pp. 1479-1489). Washington, DC: NASW Press. Alexander, E.R. 1995. How Organizations Act Together: Interorganizational Coordination in Theory and Practice. Milwaukee, WI: Gordon and Breach Publishers. Allen, M., A. Angie, J. Davis, S. Connelly, M. Mumford, and H.D. O’Hair. 2009. Virtual risk: The role of new media in violent and nonviolent ideological groups. In R. Heath and H.D. O’Hair, eds., Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication (pp. 446-470). New York: Routledge. Avtgis, T.A., and A.S. Rancer. 2008. The relationship between trait verbal aggressiveness and teacher burnout syndrome in K–12 teachers. Communication Research Reports, 25:86-89. Beatty, M.J., and J.C. McCroskey. 1997. It’s in our nature: Verbal aggressiveness as temperamental expression. Communication Quarterly, 45:446-460. Biesterfeld, J., and J.R. Meloy. 2008. The public figure assassin as terrorist. In J.R. Meloy, L. Sheridan, and J. Hoffman, eds., Stalking, Threatening, and Attacking Public Figures (pp. 143-162). New York: Oxford University Press. Blazak, R. 2001. White boys to terrorist men: Target recruitment of Nazi skinheads. American Behavioral Scientist, 44(6):982-1000. Bond, C.F., Jr., and B.M. DePaulo. 2006. Accuracy of deception judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(3):214-234. Boster, F.J., T.A. Levine, and D. Kazoleas. 1993. The impact of argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness on strategic diversity and persistence in compliance-gaining behavior. Communication Quarterly, 41:405-414. Brown, J.S., and P. Duguid. 1991. Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning, and innovation. Organization Science, 2:40-57. Burgoon, J.K., and T. Qin. 2006. The dynamic nature of deceptive verbal communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26(1):76-96. Burgoon, J.K., and V.V. Varadan. 2006. Workshop on Report on Detecting and Countering IEDs and Related Threats. Reston, VA: National Science Foundation. Burgoon, J.K., M. Adkins, J. Kruse, M.L. Jensen, T.O. Meservy, D.P. Twitchell, A. Deokar, J.F. Nunamaker Jr., S. Lu, G. Tsechpenakis, D. Metaxas, and R.E. Younger. 2005. An approach for intent identification by building on deception detection. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Big Island, HI.
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