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Prof Paul J. Taylor

Professor of Psychology

Academic and Other Relevant Experience

I hold a BSc in Psychology (First Class Hons., University of Essex, 1998), an MSc in Investigative Psychology (Distinction, University of Liverpool, 1999) and a PhD in Psychology (University of Liverpool, 2004). I am a Chartered Forensic Psychologist and Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Since joining Lancaster in 2008, I have been responsible for leading projects that consider behavioural aspects of law enforcement and security worth in excess of £3.2M.

Current Role

I am Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University, and Professor of the Psychology of Human Interaction at Twente University, The Netherlands. I also direct (together with Prof. Rashid) Security Lancaster. I have my own home page here: The Good Stranger

Security Research

My research considers human cooperation and the strategies that people use to deduce information and persuade people to act in a particular way. Traditionally my work examined face-to-face interactions, from the tactics most effective in hostage negotiations through to methods of estimating whether or not a person will respond to a particular request. For example, Ellen Giebels (Twente University) and I have explored the use of influence tactics is a range of police settings across a range of cultural groups. With Mark Levine (Exeter University), I have studied the nature of escalating aggression in conflicts with the aim of identifying the factors that promote deescalation. More recently, I have been applying these methods to online contexts. For example, my lab has developed culturally sensitive techniques for supporting the analysis of threats. Similarly, we've developed a set of psychometric tools that enable accurate remote personality assessment from Facebook and online chat data, which incorporate a measure of the extent to which the misrepresenting his or her identity. In related work I have been examining the impact of online material on terrorism. Karen Jacques and I completed a large analysis of the role of females in violent extremism, and as part of that project we evaluated the role women have in promoting violence online. I also recently concluded a multi-institution project seeking to understand the influence strategies of those attempting to promote violence (i.e., 'radicalise') in the name of Islam. All of my work has been conducted in close collaboration with relevant partners both within the UK and the US.

Selected Esteem Indicators

  • Editor of Legal and Criminological Psychology, 2011
  • Associate editor of Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 2009.
  • British Psychological Society, Chartered Forensic Psychologist (CPsychol), 2008
  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (elected as a Fellow for work on analysing interaction sequences), 2005

Key Security Research Projects

  • Oct 2011- “Automating language-based assessments” (Principal Investigator). Automating the previously developed linguistic analysis methodology for use on non-written communication
  • Oct 2010- “Developing a more efficient and accurate method of assessing adversary personality in cyberspace” (Principal Investigator, with Wall, Lancaster). Development of a psychometric tool for assessing the personality of adversaries from online behaviour
  • Aug 2010- “Develop and evaluate methods for detecting threats to organisation security” (Co-Investigator, with Dando and Ormerod, Lancaster). Evaluating if insider threats can be identified by changes in employee’s work patterns and use of digital media.
  • Oct 2009- “Development of ‘TRACE’ for online extremist messages and counter-messages” (Principal Investigator; with Rayson, Lancaster). Developing methods for risk assessing online radicalizing messages.
  • 2009-2010 “Developing our understanding of the language of online extremism” (Principal Investigator, with Hoskins, Warwick; O’Loughlin, Royal Holloway; Rayson, Lancaster). Evaluated the prevalence of violent extremism online and its impact on vulnerable communities.
  • 2007 - 2009 “Linguistic indicators of deception” (Principal Investigator). Developed method for assessing veracity that can be applied to threats made within emails or online.
  • 2004 - 2005 ESRC Post-doctoral fellowship (PTA-026-27-0044)

Key Security and Related Publications

  • Vartanian, O., Stewart, K., Mandel, D., Pavlovic, N., McLellan, L., & Taylor, P. J. (in press). Personality assessment and behavioral prediction at first impression. Personality and Individual Differences.
  • Levine, M., Taylor, P. J., & Best, R. (2011). Third-parties, violence and conflict resolution: The role of group size and collective action in the micro-regulation of violence. Psychological Science, 22, 406-412.
  • Prentice, S., Taylor, P. J., Rayson, P., Hoskins, A., & O’Loughlin, B. (2011). Analyzing the semantic content and persuasive composition of extremist media: A case study of texts produced during the Gaza conflict. Information Systems Frontiers, 13, 61-73.
  • Giebels, E., & Taylor, P. J. (2009). Interaction patterns in crisis negotiations: Persuasive arguments and cultural differences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 5-19.
  • Jacques, K., & Taylor, P. J. (2009). Female terrorism: A review. Terrorism and Political Violence, 21, 499-515.
  • Jacques, K., & Taylor, P. J. (2008). Male and female suicide bombers: Different sexes, different reasons? Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 31, 304-326.
  • Ormerod, T., Barrett, E., & Taylor, P. J. (2008). Sensemaking in criminal investigations. In J. M. Schraagen, L. G. Militello, T. Ormerod, & R Lipshitz (Eds.), Naturalistic decision making and macrocognition (pp. 81-102). Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
  • Taylor, P. J., & Donald, I. J. (2007). Testing the relationship between local cue-response patterns and global dimensions of communication behavior. British Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 273-298.
  • Donohue, W. A., & Taylor, P. J. (2007). Role effects in negotiation: The one-down phenomenon. Negotiation Journal, 23, 307-331.
  • Taylor, P. J. (2006). Proximity coefficients as a measure of interrelationships in sequences of behavior. Behavioral Research Methods, 38, 42-50.
  • Taylor, P. J., & Donohue, W. A. (2006). Hostage negotiation opens up. In A. Schneider & C. Honeymoon (Eds.), The negotiator’s fieldbook (pp. 667-674). New York: American Bar Association Press.
  • Taylor, P. J., & Donald, I. (2003). Foundations and evidence for an interaction based approach to conflict interactions. International Journal of Conflict Management, 14, 213-232.
  • Taylor, P. J. (2002). A cylindrical model of communication behavior in crisis negotiations. Human Communication Research, 28, 7-48.