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PhD Student: Linda Bomm MSc

The world can be a threatening place: with a pandemic, climate change, financial crises, and terrorist attacks, individuals encounter various threats in today's societies. These threats have the potential to significantly influence human experience and behavior. For instance, threats can disrupt society by fuelling support for anti-democratic policies or evoking violence. At the same time, perceiving an issue as threatening can mobilize citizens to take action to protect themselves and society against it, for example by advocating for more restrictive climate policies or getting vaccinated. 

Understanding how people perceive societal threats and what determines their reactions to them is crucial, given their complex role in society. Who perceives which issues as threatening, and why? Are threat perceptions stable over time? Are they influenced by the exposure to external stimuli, and do they correlate with internal attitudes and predispositions? Can threat perceptions be manipulated? How do individuals cope with societal threats, and how can we support them in mitigating threats in adaptive ways? And how do self-reported threat perceptions correspond to uncontrollable affective reactions?

We approach this investigation by integrating insights from Psychology, Political Science, and Communication Science, and employ experiments, surveys, psychophysiology, and qualitative methods. 

This project is funded by the NWO (VIDI grant, Bert Bakker) and part of the larger "Under Pressure" project, which investigatges the complicated threat-politics relationship and its role in explaining the novel political environment of the 21st century.  

L. (Linda) Bomm

PhD student

Dr. B.N. (Bert) Bakker


Dr. G. (Gijs) Schumacher


Dr F.R. (Frederic) Hopp