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35 - The Political Psychology of Cyberterrorism

from Part III - Contemporary Challenges to Democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

Danny Osborne
University of Auckland
Chris G. Sibley
University of Auckland
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This chapter examines the phenomenon of cyberterrorism through the lens of political psychology. The emergence of cyberterrorism as a novel threat has roiled international security and given rise to a new wave of research that seeks to understand how exposure to destructive digital attacks influences political attitudes and behaviour. In this chapter, we review the leading empirical studies that have emerged as part of this new research focus. We begin by presenting a consolidated political psychology model of exposure to cyberterrorism that guides our analysis throughout the chapter. We then apply this model to the two predominant political outcomes that recur in the empirical literature – public confidence and trust in institutions, and foreign policy attitudes. Finally, we pinpoint the key gaps in our understanding of the psycho-political effects of cyberterrorism exposure and propose a research agenda that accounts for the evolving nature of the field.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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