Paul Taylor is Professor of Human Interaction at the University of Twente. His expertise is the collection and analysis of behaviour sequence data (often using technology), particularly the verbal and nonverbal data of interpersonal interactions. His work has developed a framework for understanding communicative sensemaking, developed novel ways of tracking social cohesion online, and built language-based tools for detecting insider threat. In October 2015, Paul became the inaugural director of the UK's Centre for Research and Evidence in Security Threats, which is funded by the UK security and intelligence agencies.

My work examines human cooperation. I seek to understand how certain people—who I call ‘good strangers’—are effective at educing cooperation from those who might otherwise be mistrusting or hostile. My research answers this question in two ways: by developing our understanding of how human interaction works (e.g., Taylor, 2002, reference below) and, more practically, by identifying the kinds of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that educe cooperation (e.g., Giebels & Taylor, 2009).

I place a high value on ecological validity. Consequently I've examined the interpersonal dynamics of crisis negotiations, police interrogations, pub fights, vetting interviews, and serious sexual assaults. I've also used ‘process’ methodologies to study contextual determinants of cooperation, such as the factors that precede violence in the lives of male and female terrorists. Common patterns emerge over these contexts, and these provide the basis of operational support and training to law enforcement agencies worldwide.

CV available here:

Other contributions

  • 1.Richardson, B., Taylor, P. J., Snook, B., Conchie, S. M., & Bennell, C. (2014). Language style matching and confessions in police interrogations. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 357-366.
  • 1.Poppe, R., van der Zee, S., Heylen, D., & Taylor, P. J. (2014). AMAB: Automated measurement and analysis of body motion. Behavior Research Methods, 46, 625-633. doi:10.3758-13428-013-0398-y
  • 2.Taylor, P. J. (2014). The role of language in conflict and conflict resolution. In T. Holtgraves (Ed.), Handbook of Language and Social Psychology (pp. 459-470). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • 3.Wall, H. J., Taylor, P. J., Conchie, S. M., Dixon, J., & Ellis, D. (2013). Rich contexts do not always enrich the accuracy of personality judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 1190-1195.
  • 4.Taylor, P. J., Dando, C., Ormerod, T., Ball, L., Jenkins, M., Sandham, A., & Menacere, T. (2013). Detecting insider threats to organizations through language change. Law and Human Behavior, 37, 267-275.
  • 5.Jacques, K., & Taylor, P. J. (2013). Myths and realities of female-perpetrated terrorism. Law and Human Behavior, 37, 35-44.
  • 2.Giebels, E., & Taylor, P. J. (2009). Interaction patterns in crisis negotiations: Persuasive arguments and cultural differences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 5-19.
  • 3.Taylor, P. J. (2002). A cylindrical model of communication behavior in crisis negotiations. Human Communication Research, 28, 7-48.

Research profiles

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023

Together with colleagues in PCRS and EEMCS, my current research projects address the following aspects of the two questions described above:

Correlates of cooperation

Using the latest technological advances in measuring both verbal and nonverbal behavior (the latter thanks to Xsens, which was originally developed in Twente!), Dr Miri and I are examining traditional concept of communication accommodation and its relationship with cooperation. We are particularly interested in how cooperation emerges over time and how people handle ‘cooperation paradoxes;’ where the social signals of one channel do not lead the observer to make the same inferences as they do from other channels.

Interpersonal sensemaking in high-risk interactions

Using the latest text analysis methods and experiments, prof dr. Giebels, Miriam Oostinga, Joanne Curtis and I are examining the impact of difference influence messages in cross-cultural interactions. We are particular interested in what shapes the way in which people interpret the messages of others and how misinterpretations are overcome effectively. Identifying what messages work and under what conditions they work moves forward our model of ‘the good stranger.’

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