How terrorism red flags become weak signals through the processes of judgement and evaluation

Phillips, Peter J. and Pohl, Gabriela (2019) How terrorism red flags become weak signals through the processes of judgement and evaluation. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. ISSN 0882-0783

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of why, in spite of their characteristics as ‘strong signals’, terrorism red flags can sometimes be missed. This represents a serious problem for counter-terrorism. By analysing the two phases of the investigative decision-making process, judgement and evaluation, we explain how the decision-making process can introduce distortions that can weaken even the strongest signals, making them vulnerable to being missed. We first examine the concept of weak signals and the challenges involved in detecting them. Then, drawing on the theoretical and empirical research in decision theory, we explain the role of the decision-making process in weakening and distorting strong signals. We present a model of the decision-making process based on prospect theory representing missed red flags as judgement and evaluation errors. We argue that the two phases of the decision-making process cause distortions in information, evidence, data and signals that are relevant to assessing an individual’s likely engagement in terrorism. We end the paper with some recommendations that can be implemented to mitigate the problems identified in the paper.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 37152
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 10 September 2019. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 July 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department (1 July 2013 -)
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 05:23
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 04:26
Uncontrolled Keywords: weak signals, strong signals, red flags, terrorism, judgement, evaluation
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160604 Defence Studies
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140104 Microeconomic Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810107 National Security
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s11896-019-09345-2
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37152

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only