Paul L. DeVito, Ph.D.
Professor, Vice Provost
Areas Taught: Psychology
Expertise: The Psychology of Terrorism
The Psychology of Terrorism
The attacks of September 11, 2001, refocused America's attention on security. From reminders on all levels of mass transit to keep aware of your surroundings to increased personnel at sporting events, security has become a much greater part of public life. For Paul DeVito, Ph.D., executive director of Saint Joseph's Early Responders Distance Learning Center, the psychological aspects of those providing security, and of those who would seek to breach it, are of primary concern.
The author of more than 40 articles, chapters, and research presentations, Dr. DeVito specializes in the psychology of terror. He appeared on WPVI/6-ABC within an hour of the first strike of the September 11 attacks and spoke extensively with the media in the weeks following the attacks, including MSNBC, WTFX/Fox 29's "Good Day Philadelphia," and KYW/1060-AM NewsRadio.
Also the University's associate provost and a professor of psychology, Dr. DeVito is a member of several local and national preparedness task forces, including the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Committee on Preparedness, and is an expert on agroterrorism preparedness.
Dr. DeVito's current research includes risk communication, port security, and exploring the psychology of suicide bombers. "We have to try to understand suicide bombers to prevent them from acting," he says. "Given the increased frequency of suicide bombings, both civilian and military personnel must be mentally prepared to handle a pre- and post-blast incident. We need to be able to properly detect, deter, prevent, defeat, mitigate, and respond to a suicide/homicide bombing."