Universiteit Leiden

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Kantorowicz received a seed grant for conducting a project

Together with a group of researchers from TU Delft and Erasmus University, Leiden University have received a seed grant for conducting a project “Perceived Risk of Terrorism and its Implications for (Counter-Terrorism) Communication Strategies”.

The researches that are involved are Dr. Jaroslaw Kantorowicz (LEI), Dr. Gerdien de Vries (TU) and Dr. Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko (EUR). The project has been fully launched.


In recent years, different countries in Europe are witnessing an increase in terroristic attacks, which mostly are associated with IS and returning Jihadists. This situation poses a challenge to policy makers who are in the position to develop counter-terrorism policies to protect its citizens and to manage public fear. Terrorism risk perception by the public is an important element in the design of counter-terrorism measures and communication of terror events and the adopted counter-terrorism policies. Fear of terrorism needs to be managed. Overestimation of terrorism risk might create public demand for over-intrusive and excessively expensive measures. Furthermore, people might overinvest in private precaution measures or unnecessarily change their life routines. Therefore, it is important to understand the process of people’s risk perception and to design effective communication strategies.


To investigate the psychological mechanisms affecting the perception of terrorism risk. We intend to research whether there is a gap between the actual risk of terrorism and the perceived one, and to analyse whether this gap can be minimised through adequate communication strategy.


We will employ quantitative methods (experimental surveys with a conjoint analysis) to provide rigorous analysis of terrorism risk perception in the Netherlands and in the UK. Even though there are studies on risk perception related to terrorism, this is the first study to investigate terrorism risk perception in Europe in a rigorous and systematic manner. Results of this study are important for the design of effective communication strategies that can be adopted by public officials responsible for counter-terrorism policies and management of public fear.


Expected deliverables: results of two experiments; two publications in prestigious international journals (one empirical article and one policy article); workshop on the topic of terrorism risk perception and communications strategies.


This project is funded by the LDE Centre for Safety and Security (2017).

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