Violet Cheung is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of San Francisco who received her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Her areas of specialization are emotion processes and self-regulation. In the wake of 9/11, Dr. Cheung felt that her experience could be utilized to study mass emotions and visceral decision making. For example, in a series of empirical studies she demonstrated that a fearful public tended to be more concerned about avoiding public places whereas an angry public tended to rally behind the idea of armed aggression. As Dr. Cheung shifted her research focus from fear and anger to anxiety, she embarked on an effort to educate people about the subtle emotional undercurrents of policy debate.
In their latest book, Behold a Pale Farce, Bill Blunden and Violet Cheung engage in an honest discussion of society’s cyber insecurity problem by delving into the often unacknowledged technical, economic and political root causes. As a result, they’re able to prescribe solutions that don’t require users to sacrifice liberty or security. This is in stark contrast to flawed approaches, like dragnet surveillance, which are based on a mischaracterization of the problem. The rampant use of hyperbole and worst-case scenarios breeds the kind of mass anxiety which could very well lead the public to blindly accept inappropriate solutions.
Dr. Cheung maintains memberships with a number of regional, national and international societies. She is currently the secretary of the Society of Terrorism Research, associate editor of the Behavioral Studies of Terrorism and Political Aggression and the chair of Student and Early Career section of the Peace Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. To further advance the cause of social justice, she also chaired the Honorary Degree Committee at the University of San Francisco.