L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



David Webber

David Webber

Assistant professor, homeland security and emergency preparedness assistant chair

Scherer Hall, Room 211 Phone: (804) 828-8711 Email: dwebber@vcu.edu


  • Psychology of terrorism
  • Radicalization and deradicalization
  • Existential threat


Ph.D., Social and Cultural Psychology, University of Alberta

M.S., Experimental Psychology, University of Wyoming

B.A., Psychology, University of Wyoming


Terrorism, radicalization


Terrorism, the psychological, cultural and social factors of the radicalization process, effectiveness of deradicalization programs, existential threat, social psychology


Webber utilizes a mixture of social psychological experimental methods, field surveys in at-risk locations, and qualitative analyses to examine the factors involved in the radicalization and deradicalization processes of violent extremists. He also has a background in existential experimental psychology and has worked to understand how individuals react to existentially threatening circumstances. In conjunction with the U.S. State Department and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, Webber is consulting with the Philippine prison system on the use and implementation of risk assessment tools for imprisoned violent extremist offenders.


Cohen, S. J., Kruglanski, A. W., Gelfand, M. J., Webber, D., Gunaratna, R., & Katz, R. (in press). Al Qaeda's propaganda decoded: A psycholinguistic system for detecting variations in terrorism ideology. Terrorism and Political Violence.

Webber, D., Klein, K., Sheveland, A., Kruglanski, A. W., Gelfand, M. J., Brizi, A., & Merari, A. (in press). Divergent paths to martyrdom and significance among suicide attackers. Terrorism and Political Violence.

Webber, D., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2016, forthcoming). Psychological factors in radicalization: A ā€œ3Nā€ approach. In G. LaFree & J. D. Freilich (Eds.), The Handbook of the Criminology of Terrorism. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Webber, D., Zhang, R., Schimel, J., & Blatter, J. (2016). Finding death in meaninglessness: Evidence that death-thought accessibility increases in response to meaning threats. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55, 144-161.