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Shannon C. Houck, Ph.D.

Shannon C. Houck, Ph.D.

Assistant Teaching Professor

402 Huntington Hall


M.A. & Ph.D., University of Montana, Experimental (Social) Psychology
B.A., University of Montana, Psychology

Research and Teaching Interests

My research interests in social and political psychology fall within the general areas of (a) attitudes and decision-making, (b) political communication, and (c) terrorism/counter-terrorism. Specific interests within these areas include interrogation and torture as they relate to social justice, human rights, and policy-making. I am also interested in the causes and consequences of the underlying complexity of communication as they relate to public opinion, political ideology, and the dynamics of peace and conflict. My research lab is comprised of outstanding undergraduate students in Psychology, Forensic Science, Political Science, Global Security Studies, as well as other fields of study.

As an instructor, my fundamental goals are to help students to think critically about concepts, theories, and research, and to cultivate a sense of excitement for psychological science. Whether the classroom setting is large or small, in-person or online, my courses center on active learning and inquiry through live demonstrations, discussion, and application to societal issues.

Representative Publications

Houck, S.C., Repke, M.A., & Conway, L.G. III (2017). Understanding what makes terrorist groups’ propaganda effective: An integrative complexity analysis of ISIL and Al Qaeda. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 12(2), 105-118.

Houck, S.C., & Repke, M.A. (2017). When and why we Torture: A review of psychology research. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 3(3), 272-283.

Conway, L.G, III, Houck, S.C., Gornick, L.J., & Repke, M.A. (2017). Finding the Loch Ness Monster: Left-Wing Authoritarianism in the United States. Political Psychology. doi: 10.1111/pops.12470

Houck, S.C., & Conway, L.G. III (2015). Ethically investigating torture efficacy: A new methodology to test the influence of pain on decision-making processes in experimental interrogation scenarios. Journal of Applied Security Research, 10(4), 510-524.

Houck, S.C., Conway, L.G. III, & Repke, M.A., (2014). Personal closeness and perceived torture efficacy: If torture will save someone I’m close to, then it must work. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 20, 590-592.

Houck, S.C., Conway, L.G., III, & Gornick, L.J. (2014). Automated integrative complexity: Current challenges and future directions. Political Psychology, 35, 647-659.