John Horgan (psychologist)

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John G. Horgan
Born1974 (age 46–47)
Known forExpert on the psychology of terrorism
Academic background
Alma materUniversity College Cork
Academic work
Main interests

John G. Horgan (born 1974) is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He studies involvement and engagement with terrorism, with a focus on disengagement and deradicalisation from terrorist movements. He has been described by the European Eye on Radicalization research group as the "world’s most distinguished expert in the psychology of terrorism".[2] Since 2019, Horgan has been leading a team of researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to research the incel subculture.[3][4]

Life and education[edit]

Horgan is a native of Castleisland, County Kerry, in the Republic of Ireland.[5] Horgan was awarded his Ph.D. in applied psychology in 2000 by University College Cork.[1] While in Ireland, he spent several years conducting detailed research on Irish Republican movements, and published several articles on the fundraising activities of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.[citation needed]

Research and teaching[edit]

Horgan is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University, where he leads the Violent Extremism Research Group.[3] He has previously held positions at the University of Massachusetts Lowell,[6] Pennsylvania State University,[7] and the University of St Andrews.[8] While at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell he directed their Center for Terrorism & Security Studies;[9] while at Pennsylvania State University, he directed for their International Center for the Study of Terrorism.[7]

In 2006, Horgan became a recipient of an Airey Neave Trust Fellowship Award,[10] and he has since been awarded multiple grants for his research on terrorist behaviour. In 2010, following his consultancy work with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), he was appointed to the Research Advisory Board of the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) until its official disbandment in 2012.[7] In August 2012 he became a member of the new NCAVC Research Working Group.[1]

In 2019, Horgan and a group of researchers at Georgia State University were awarded $250,000 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to research the growth and spread of the incel subculture, a group that Horgan described as "one of the purest hotbeds of Internet radicalisation I’ve ever seen".[3][4]

Writing and editing[edit]

Horgan has extensively researched involvement and engagement in terrorism.[1] Some of his research on this subject was published in the journals Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict.[11] Horgan has written several books on terrorism, including The Psychology of Terrorism (2005 and 2014), Divided We Stand: The Strategy and Psychology of Ireland's Dissident Terrorists (2012), and The Future of Terrorism (1999, with Max Taylor).[11] Horgan is editor of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence.[1] He serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Studies in Conflict & Terrorism,[12] Journal of Strategic Security,[13] and Legal and Criminological Psychology.[14]


  • Horgan, J. (2014). The Psychology of Terrorism, 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
  • Horgan, J. (2013). Divided We Stand: The Psychology and Strategy of Ireland's Dissident Terrorists. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Horgan, J. and Braddock, K. (2011)Terrorism: A Reader. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Horgan, J. (2009). Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Bjorgo, T. and Horgan, J. (Eds.) (2009). Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement. London: Routledge.
  • Horgan, J. (2005). Psychology of Terrorism. London: Routledge.
  • Taylor, M. and Horgan, J. (Eds.) (2000). The Future of Terrorism. London: Frank Cass & Co.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "John Horgan". College of Arts & Sciences. Georgia State University. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  2. ^ Horgan, John (20 November 2018). "An Interview with Dr. John Horgan – Terrorism, Psychology, and Major Issues in the Field" (Interview).
  3. ^ a b c Reetz, Noelle Toumey (26 June 2019). "Grant Will Fund Research Into Growing Male Supremacist Subculture Online". Georgia State University News. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b Culver, Jordan (21 May 2020). "A Canadian teenager has been charged with terrorism inspired by the online 'incel' movement. What is an 'incel?'". USA Today. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  5. ^ "John Horgan on Islamic Terrorism on TV3 Tonight at 10pm". The Maine Valley Post. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  6. ^ Shane, Scott (25 June 2015). "Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11". New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Director of Penn State's ICST appointed member of FBI board". Penn State News. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Terrorism expert to head Intl. Center for the Study of Terrorism". Penn State News. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  9. ^ Horgan, John G. (2 March 2015). "Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan" (Interview). Interviewed by John Horgan. Scientific American.
  10. ^ "Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements". Airey Neave Trust. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b "John Horgan". Google Scholar Citations. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Editorial Board". Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Editorial Board". Journal of Strategic Security. University of South Florida Tampa Library. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Legal and Criminological Psychology Editorial Board". Wiley Online Library. Retrieved 25 May 2020.