Threatening Communications and Behavior
PERSPECTIVES ON THE PURSUIT OF PUBLIC FIGURES
Cherie Chauvin, Editor
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. BCS-0827794 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-18670-4
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-18670-6
Copies of this report are available from
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2011). Threatening Communications and Behavior: Perspectives on the Pursuit of Public Figures. C. Chauvin, ed. Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
BOARD ON BEHAVIORAL, COGNITIVE, AND SENSORY SCIENCES
Philip Rubin (Chair),
Haskins Laboratories and Yale University
Lisa Feldman Barrett,
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University
College of Dentistry, University of Florida
Richard J. Bonnie,
Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Susan T. Fiske,
Department of Psychology, Princeton University
Nina G. Jablonski,
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
Patricia K. Kuhl,
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington
Jonathan D. Moreno,
Departments of Medical Ethics and History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Michael L. Posner,
Department of Psychology, University of Oregon (Emeritus)
Valerie F. Reyna,
Department of Human Development and Psychology, Cornell University
Richard M. Shiffrin,
Psychology Department, Indiana University
Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Barbara A. Wanchisen, Director
Mary Ellen O’Connell, Deputy Director
Cherie Chauvin, Program Officer
Christie R. Jones, Program Associate
Renée L. Wilson Gaines, Senior Program Assistant
Matthew D. McDonough, Senior Program Assistant
The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) wishes to thank the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its generous support of BBCSS activities. Without NSF’s assistance, this publication would not have been possible. Early drafts of these papers were written to inform a federal agency research agenda, but they were subsequently substantially revised to more broadly review the literature on the correlation between communication-relevant factors and the likelihood that an individual who poses a threat will act on it. The factors considered are computerized text analysis, communication, and forensic psychology: together, they represent a synthesis of current knowledge that may provide ideas for potential new research directions.
Each paper has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its publications as sound as possible and to ensure that the papers meet institutional standards for objectivity and evidence. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the scientific process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of one or more of the papers in this volume: Nancy Cooke, Department of Applied Psychology, Arizona State University; Robert A. Fein, Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Jeffrey T. Hancock,
Department of Communication, Cornell University; Eduard Hovy, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California; Gary King, Department of Government, Harvard University; Tim Levine, Department of Communication, Michigan State University; Sharon Smith, Federal Bureau of Investigation (retired) and Forensic Psycholinguistics, LLC.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the papers, nor did they see the final draft before publication. The review of this collection of papers was overseen by Linda Waite of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Appointed by the National Research Council, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the papers was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this publication rests entirely with the authors and the institution.
Using Computerized Text Analysis to Assess Threatening Communications and Behavior
Communication-Based Research Related to Threats and Ensuing Behavior