Chapter 3 - Psychological Aspects of Cyber Hate and Cyber Terrorism

Jane Prince

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


What is understood regarding cyber hate and cyber terrorism from a psychological perspective? One of the problems faced by those theorising the psychological aspects of perpetrators of cyber terror is that few practitioners have been identified. Hence psychologists have had to draw on what they know of cyber communications, the psychology of those who engage in terrorism and broader theories of group membership, terrorist motivation, identity and social identity theories to explain the phenomena. Cyber hate is understood as being the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote hate and to target the largely youthful and impressionable audiences that increasingly rely on these technologies. Hate-groups achieve their goals in four main ways: promoting ideology, promoting hatred of other racial or religious groups, exerting control over others and targeting opponents. Cyber terrorism is considered in this chapter broadly as being the use of information technologies to promote terrorism and to achieve terrorist goals. This may be through attacking the infrastructure of the web through viruses, hacking and so on, or through use of technology to organise terror attacks. Of interest then is the psychological aspects of the ways in which communication through ICTs differs from other modes of communication. The author returns to the central issue facing those who try to theorise and challenge hate and terrorism on the Internet; this is the problem of defining the psychology of people who are essentially 'invisible'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicing Cyber Hate, Cyber Threats and Cyber Terrorism
EditorsImran Awan, Brian Blakemore
ISBN (Print)1409438163, 9781409438168
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2012


  • psychology
  • identity
  • terrorism


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