photo: Jerrold Post

Jerrold M. Post

Professor of Psychiatry, Political Psychology and International Affairs
Room 600-F
Address: Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, N.W.
Phone: 202-994-7386
Fax: 202-994-5477

Areas of Expertise

Political psychology, psychiatry

Dr. Post has devoted his entire career to the field of political psychology. Dr. Post came to George Washington after a 21 year career with the Central Intelligence Agency where he founded and directed the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, an interdisciplinary behavioral science unit which provided assessments of foreign leadership and decision making for the President and other senior officials to prepare for Summit meetings and other high level negotiations and for use in crisis situations. He played the lead role in developing the "Camp David profiles" of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat for President Jimmy Carter and initiated the U.S. government program in understanding the psychology of terrorism. In recognition of his leadership of the Center, Dr. Post was awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit in 1979, and received the Studies in Intelligence Award in 1980. He received the Nevitt Sanford Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Political Psychology in 2002.

A founding member of the International Society of Political Psychology, Dr. Post was elected Vice-President in 1994, and has served on the editorial board of Political Psychology since 1987. A Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has been elected to the American College of Psychiatrists and is currently Chair, Task Force for National and International Terrorism and Violence for the APA.


M.D., Yale University


Dr. Post has published widely on crisis decision-making, leadership, and on the psychology of political violence and terrorism, and recently has been addressing weapons of mass destruction terrorism: psychological incentives and constraints, as well as information systems terrorism. He is the co-author of a study of the politics of illness in high office, When Illness Strikes the Leader: The Dilemma of the Captive King, Yale University Press, 1993, and Political Paranoia: The Psycho-politics of Hatred, Yale, 1997.

His other books include: 

  • The Mind of a Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to al-Qaeda (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007);
  • The Psychological Evaluation of Political Leaders (University of Michigan Press, 2003);
  • Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World: The Psychology of Political Behavior (Cornell University Press, 2004)
  • Know Thy Enemy: Profiles of Adversary Leaders and their Strategic Cultures, co-authored with Barry Schneider (Air Force Counter Proliferation Center, 2003).

Classes Taught

PPSY 6101 Fundamentals of Political Psychology

PPSY 6103 Political Violence and Terrorism

PPSY 6104 Independent Study and Research