chapter  5
29 Pages

Jihadists, Al- Qaida, and the Islamic State


This chapter introduces and applies the concepts of psychological and criminal profiling to individuals labelled lone actor terrorists. It focuses on describing known individual lone actors can help further our knowledge on possible avenues towards a more robust structure for risk assessments of possible future lone actors. Accessing and assessing the inside of the mind of the lone actor is a formidable task, no less difficult than psychological and criminal profiling of offenders perpetrating common violence. Criminal profiling has gained widespread attention, both among professionals in psychology and law enforcement and the general public. John Monahan describes some central challenges that have to be overcome regarding structured methods for assessing risk in relation to known individual terrorists. He discusses four critical issues: the heterogeneity of the outcome; the need to structure the risk assessment of terrorism; the need for valid and non-trivial risk factors for terrorism; and the problem of validation.