The Political Psychology of Cyber-Terrorism (PPCL) Lab is the world’s first research team dedicated to studying cyberterrorism.

Our lab use theories of political psychology to examine the effects of public exposure to cyberterrorism and other digital threats. Lab members employ a range of methodologies from survey experiments to natural experiments, cortisol studies to normative analyses to research the mechanisms underpinning individual exposure to cyber attacks. We aspire to offer a human perspective of cyber-threats by examining the psychological effects of exposure to cyberterrorism, and exploring the ensuing domestic and international political consequences.

The PPCL lab is always looking for passionate and bright scientists to join our team. Contact us >>>


Lab Members

Keren Levy Ganany Snider is a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa, Israel, as well as an instructor at the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University. Dr. L.G. Snider specializes in psycho-political consequences of terrorism, mass political attitudes and behavior, immigration and refugee politics and survey experiments research. She uses rigorous quantitative methodologies to apply principles taken from political psychology to study public opinions under conflict and violence.

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Ryan Shandler is a PhD candidate at the University of Haifa in the School of Political Science. His research focuses on the intersection between technology and international security. Ryan draws on theories of political psychology to understand the political effects of cyber-threats and develop Internet age theories of political participation. His research primarily utilizes natural experiments, large-N surveys and controlled laboratory studies. He is a research fellow at the Center for Cyber, Law & Policy, an inaugural fellow of the IDIT Doctoral Program, and a recipient of the Yakir Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research.

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Shani Fachter is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shani’s research focuses on the effect of political activists’ presence on intergroup violence atfriction points during ongoing conflict. In her research, Shani uses experimental methodology including laboratory experiments and cutting-edge technology such as virtual reality equipment. Shani’s research interests are intergroup violence, ideology and political activism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and Behaviour & Information Technology.


Sharon Matzkin is a PhD candidate at the University of Haifa in the School for Political Sciences. Her main research interests focus on the political economy of cyberattacks. Drawing upon economics, political science and political psychology, she examines how political institutions, the political environment, and cyber-economy form a unique ecosystem which influence each other. She primarily deals with the politico-psychological aspects of cyber-attacks on financial markets and how those, in turn affect public confidence in government institutions and mass political attitudes. She utilizes rigorous quantitative research methods with large data samples. In her thesis titled Public Confidence Following Lethal and Financial Conventional and Cyber Terror: Survey-Experiments in Trilateral Democracies she utilized structural-equation modeling with data collected in three countries.


Gal Dor is a PhD candidate at the University of Haifa in the School of Political Science. Her research focuses on the psychological mechanisms behind the cognitive heuristics of decision-making process. In her research, Gal uses experimental methods to analyze decision patterns and biases in the context of exposure to conventional and cybernetic threats. Her research utilizes a unique combination of virtual reality and an AI-based simulator to analyze decision making.


Snehashree Mukherjee is a conflict-investigative journalist from India. She is currently pursuing her M.A research track at the School of Government and Political Science, University of Haifa. Her areas of interest are cyber-terrorism; disinformation and propaganda by terrorist organizations on cyber platforms; influence operations in the cyber-space; and information-warfare. Her approach is mainly focused on understanding the psychological reception to persuasive and manipulative cyber-communication disseminated in conflict-zones and its effects. Apart from being a journalist and researcher, she loves to paint and explore the world of meta-physics.

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Amit Cohen is persuing her Master’s degree is political science. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science, Middle East and Islam. Amit serves in the Israeli police cadets program as a crime investigator as part of “Atudot for Israel”. Her thesis focuses on the effects of cyber terrorism under the guidance of Prof. Daphna Canetti. Her research interests include terrorism and political violence in the Middle East, and religious radicalism.


Selected Recent Publications by Lab Members:

Click image to open files | Lab members in bold

Shandler, R., Gross, MG., Backhaus, S., Canetti, D. (In press). Cyber Terrorism and Public Support for Retaliation – A Multi-Country Survey Experiment. British Journal of Political Science.


Shandler, R., Gross, MG., Canetti, D. (2021). “A Fragile Public Preference for Using Cyber Strikes: Evidence from Survey Experiments in the United States, United Kingdom and Israel”. Contemporary Security Policy. DOI: 10.1080/13523260.2020.1868836.


Shandler, R., Snider, K., Canetti, D. (In press). “The Political Psychology of Cyber Terrorism”, in The Cambridge Handbook of Political Psychology, Eds. Danny Osborne & Chris G. Sibley.


Bloom, P. B. N., Kimhi, S., Fachter, S., Shamai, M., & Canetti, D. (2020). Coping with Moral Threat: Moral Judgment amid War on Terror. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 64(2-3), 231-260.‏


Shandler, R., Gross, M. L., & Canetti, D. (2019). Can You Engage in Political Activity Without Internet Access? The Social Effects of Internet Deprivation. Political Studies Review, 18(4), 620-629.


Shandler, R., & Canetti, D. (2019). A Reality of Vulnerability and Dependence: Internet Access as a Human Right. Israel Law Review, 52(1), 77-98.


Snider, K. L.G., Hefetz, A., Canetti, D. (2018). The Attitudes Toward Asylum Policies (ATAP) Scale: Development and Validation. In Mario B. Mignone (Ed.) The Challenges of Migration in North America and Europe: Comparing Policies and Models of Reception, 195-221. Forum Italicum Publishing. Stony Brook Publication.