AHP Awarded Major Federal Grant for Domestic Terrorism Prevention

Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP), has been awarded a major grant for research and evaluation on domestic terrorism prevention from the National Institute of Justice to conduct a secondary analysis of social media data to help identify domestic extremism and violent extremist plots.

The goal of this research is to better understand the degree to which linguistic risk factors can be used to predict violent extremist outcomes at the individual level. The research will be conducted by Co-Principal Investigators Michael Sofis, Ph.D., AHP senior scientist, and Neil Shortland, Ph.D., director of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, along with James Pennebaker, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas at Austin, as Co-Investigator.

“I am excited about the potential for this project to help us better understand and predict violent extremist behaviors,” said Dr. Sofis.

This research will also seek to identify the degree to which these linguistic risk factors vary based on various ideological factors across time. The end result will be a retrospective, longitudinal database of regular social media users.

This overall sample will cover the spectrum of violent extremist actors, including lone actors and groups that have operated within the United States since 2000, individuals who departed the United States to join foreign insurgencies and group-based opportunistic actors, such as those who participated in the January 6 Capitol riot or who committed extremist violence during a larger public event.

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