|SOUTHEASTERN LECTURE TO FEATURE DISCUSSION OF PSYCHOLOGY AND TERRORISM
HAMMOND – Psychology and terrorism
will be the initial topic of a new Southeastern Louisiana University lecture
series, “Crossroads,” designed to foster communication and collaboration
among academic departments.
Tom Pyszczynski, psychology professor
at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, will present the lecture
at 11 a.m. Jan. 19 in the Student Union Theatre. He will discuss how psychology
affects general understanding of terrorism and political preferences.
The lecture series is sponsored by
the Department of Psychology and the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Each year we will invite a psychologist
whose work interfaces with sister disciplines,” said Al Burstein, head
of the Department of Psychology. “In addition to presenting a lecture,
he or she will also be available to meet with smaller groups or individuals
who want to discuss topics of mutual interest.”
Pyszczynski teaches a variety of courses
in social psychology and directs the psychology department’s honors program.
He and his colleagues Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon developed Terror
Management Theory, which helps explain why humans react the way they do
to the threat of death, and how this reaction influences their post-threat
cognition and emotion. They also wrote "In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology
of Terror," in which they used Terror Management Theory to analyze the
roots of terrorism and American reactions to the attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon in 2001.
Over the years Pyszczynski and his
colleagues have explored the role of terror management processes in a wide
range of topics including self-esteem, self-deception, prejudice, interpersonal
relations, altruism, aggression, sexual ambivalence, disgust, depression,
anxiety disorders, unconscious processes, aging, and human development.
Pyszczynski is co-editor of the "Handbook
of Experimental Existential Psychology." He also has published more than
100 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited books.
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Tammy
Bourg, whose academic background is psychology, said the annual Crossroads
lecture will help foster invaluable dialog among Southeastern’s academic
“Discussion across disciplinary and
specialist lines can be extraordinarily stimulating,” she said. “Such interactions
could raise provocative and important questions and yield new paradigms
that might bear unexpected fruit when transplanted from a different field.”
“Social problems such as hunger, ethnic
violence, and crime are difficult to account for, let alone to deal with
constructively, from the viewpoint of any single academic specialty,” said
Burstein. “They require interdisciplinary approaches. Given the potential
benefits of interdisciplinary discussion it is important to cultivate opportunities
for such discussion on our campus.”
For additional information about the
lecture, contact Burstein at 985-549-5539.