Klaudia Lohner Nemzeti Közszolgálati Egyetem Rendészettudományi Kar, Kriminálpszichológiai Tanszék, Kriminálpszichológiai Kutatóműhely Budapest Magyarország; Faculty of Law Enforcement, Department of Criminal Psychology, National University of Public Service Budapest Hungary

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Jelen tanulmány célja a magányos elkövetők megismerése mellett annak körüljárása, hogy mely módszerek lehetnek hasznosíthatók az ellenük folyó harcban, illetve milyen problémákkal szembesülhetnek a témát kutató szakemberek. A szakirodalom áttekintésével képet kaphatunk általános profiljukról. Tekintettel azonban arra, hogy a magányos elkövetők kevés olyan tulajdonsággal rendelkeznek, amelyek megkülönböztetik őket másoktól, elmondhatjuk, hogy megbízhatóan nem profilozhatók. Továbbá a profilalkotás módszere csak bizonyos esetekben segítheti az ellenük folyó küzdelmet, hiszen a módszer célja egy már megtörtént bűncselekmény elemzése. A terrorcselekmények esetében pedig a hangsúly azok megelőzésén van, melyben elsősorban a kockázatelemzési és társadalmi jelzőrendszerek nyújthatnak segítséget.


The aim of this study is to understand the lone actor terrorist and to discuss which methods can be used to combat this specific type of terrorist. We will review the main research findings on lone actors to understand their general profile. Lone perpetrators are generally male and under 50 years of age. A review of the literature suggests that there are some characteristics which lone actors have in common, which relate to their behaviour prior to the terrorist offence. Furthermore, there is a higher prevalence of mental disorders among lone offenders compared to both the general population and organised terrorist offenders. However, this cannot be considered as a causal factor. Given the fact that lone offenders have few characteristics that distinguish them measurably from other types of terrorist offenders, or even from society, it can be said that they cannot be reliably profiled. The small amount of information and data sets available to researchers (the closed treatment of case details) also makes analysis and scientific investigation difficult. Furthermore, the profiling method can only help in certain cases, since the aim of profiling is to analyse an already existing, unknown offender. In the case of terrorist offences, the focus is on prevention and deterrence, where risk analysis and social alarm systems can be of particular help. We briefly present the TRAP-18 risk analysis tool, which has proven useful in assessing the risk of lone offences.

The emergence of online space provides a new platform for radical organisations, and thus for counter-terrorism services, to detect extremist groups and individuals in virtual platforms. Open source information can also help risk analysis, and if used professionally, can provide very specific information about a targeted individual. Due to the limitations of this paper, the radicalisation processes of lone offenders, as a very important part of the subject, will not be discussed, and this article will focus on the differences between the methods and their practical aspects. Overall, the benefits of profiling lone offenders are not essentially practical work, but rather in supporting the development of risk analysis methods and as part of the cognition process.

  • 1

    Baele, S. J., Brace, L., & Coan, T. G. (2020) The ‘Tarrant effect’: what impact did far-right attacks have on the 8chan forum? Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, pp. 1–23.

  • 2

    Berntzen, L. E., & Sandberg, S. (2014) The collective nature of lone wolf terrorism: Anders Behring Breivik and the anti-Islamic social movement. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 26. No. 5. pp. 759–779.

  • 3

    Chase, A. (2003) Harvard and the Unabomber: The education of an American terrorist. New York, Norton

  • 4

    Connor, J. – Flynn, C. R. (2015): Report: Lone Wolf Terrorism. Washington, D. C., National Security Critical Issue Task Force.

  • 5

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    Dyson, S. B. (2013) Origins of the Psychological Profiling of Political Leaders: The US Office of Strategic Services and Adolf Hitler. Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 29. No. 5. pp. 654–674.

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    Ellis, C., Pantucci, R., van Zuijdewijn, J. D. R., Bakker, E., Gomis, B., Palombi, S., & Smith, M. (2016) Lone-Actor Terrorism. Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism Series, 11. Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies

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    Feldman, C., Savidge, M., & Ahlers, M. (2002) Police: Suspect planned smiley face bomb pattern. CNN,

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    Gill, P. (2015) Lone-actor Terrorists. A behavioural analysis. Routledge

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    Gill, P., Horgan, J., & Deckert, P. (2014) Bombing alone: Tracing the motivations and antecedent behaviors of lone-actor terrorists. Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 59. No. 2. pp. 425–435.

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    Gruenewald, J., Chermak, S., & Freilich, J. D. (2013). Distinguishing “loner” attacks from other domestic extremist violence: A comparison of far-right homicide incident and offender characteristics. Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 12. No. 1. pp. 65–91.

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    Guldimann A, Meloy J. R. (2020) Assessing the threat of lone-actor terrorism: the reliability and validity of the TRAP-18. Forensische Psychiatrie Psychologie Kriminologie, Vol. 14. No. 2. pp. 158–166.

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    Haller J., Ivaskevics K. (2020) Terrorizmus. In: Haller J. (szerk.) Bűntettek kriminálpszichológiája. Dialóg Campus. pp. 237–264.

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    Hamm, M. S., & Spaaij, R. (2017) The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism. Columbia University Press

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    Herrington, V. & Roberts, K. (2012) Risk Assessment in counterterrorism. In: Kumar, U., & Mandal, M. K. (eds) Countering terrorism: psychosocial strategies. pp. 282–304. SAGE Publications

  • 18

    Jensen, R. B. (2014). The pre-1914 anarchist “lone wolf” terrorist and governmental responses. Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(1), pp. 86–94.

  • 19

    Kaplan, J., Lööw, H., & Malkki, L. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on lone wolf and autonomous cell terrorism. Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(1), pp. 1–12.

  • 20

    Kenyon, J., Baker-Beall, C., & Binder, J. (2021). Lone-actor terrorism–a systematic literature review. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, pp. 1–24.

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    Krueger, A. B., & Malečková, J. (2002). Education, poverty and terrorism: Is there a causal connection?. Journal of Economic perspectives, 17(4), pp. 119–144.

  • 22

    Michael, G. (2012) Lone wolf terror and the rise of leaderless resistance. Vanderbilt University Press

  • 23

    Miller, L. (2006) The terrorist mind: I. A psychological and political analysis. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 50. No. 2. pp. 121–138.

  • 24

    Monahan, J. (2011) The individual risk assessment of terrorism. Psychology Public Policy and Law, Vol. 18. No. 2.

  • 25

    Oleson, J. C. (2004) Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist. New York: Norton & Company

  • 26

    Perry, S., Hasisi, B., & Perry, G. (2018) Who Is the Lone Terrorist? A Study of Vehicle-Borne Attackers in Israel and the West Bank. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 41. No. 11. pp. 899–913.

  • 27

    Rae, J. A. (2012) Will it ever be possible to profile the terrorist? Journal of Terrorism Research, Vol. 3. No. 2.

  • 28

    Reid, J. & Gill, P. (2016) The lone-actor terrorist and the TRAP-18. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, Vol. 3. No. 1. pp. 37–52.

  • 29

    Rémai D. (2023) Külföldi és visszatérő külföldi harcosok versenye a társadalmi jelzőrendszerekkel. Scientia et Securitas Vol 4. No. 1. pp. 20–30.

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    Sageman, M. (2008) A strategy for fighting international Islamist terrorists. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 618. No. 1. pp. 223–231.

  • 32

    Sarma, K. M. (2017) Risk Assessment and the Prevention of Radicalization from Nonviolence Into Terrorism. American Psychologist, Vol. 72. No. 3. pp. 278–288.

  • 33

    Steel, Z., Marnane, C., Iranpour, C., Chey, T., Jackson, J. W., Patel, V., & Silove, D. (2014) The global prevalence of common mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis 1980–2013. International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 43. No. 2. pp. 476–493.

  • 34

    Strentz, T. (1988) A terrorist psychosocial profile: Past and present. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Vol. 57. Issue 4. pp. 13–19.

  • 35

    Turvey, B. E. (2011) Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. Academic Press

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    Wilson, E. (2017) School-based Research. A guide for education students. Sage

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    URL1: (letöltve: 2023. 01. 30.)

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