Neil J. Kressel Biography

NEIL J. KRESSEL is a social psychologist who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He also received a master’s degree in comparative history from Brandeis University. Currently Professor of Psychology and Director of the Honors Program in the Social Sciences at William Paterson University, Kressel has taught at Harvard, New York University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and elsewhere. Recently, he was a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies. A licensed psychologist, Kressel has consulted in many areas of applied social psychology, forensic psychology, political psychology, and the psychology of genocide and terrorism. He worked on a project for The Global Futures Partnership dealing with Muslim radicalization in the West.

In recent years, he has written frequently on extremism, terrorism, antisemitism, forensic psychology, and other matters for popular and scholarly periodicals. His academic articles and reviews have appeared in various journals, including: American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Psychology, Aggressive Behavior, Political Psychology, Journal of Social Psychology, Judaism, Peace and Conflict, Small Group Behavior, Teaching of Psychology, and Journal of Psychohistory. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journal, Political Psychology. Kressel’s popular writing credits include: The Boston Globe, The New York Post, The Daily News, The Boston Herald, The (New Jersey) Record, American Legion Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and others. His work has been the subject of Op-ed pieces, editorials and features in The Washington Post, The (New York) Daily News, The New York Post, The Forward, Reader’s Digest, the Chronicle of Higher Education, WSJ.COM (Wall Street Journal), ABCNEWS.COM, FOXNEWS.COM, BLOOMBERG.COM, LAW.COM, and Corporate Board Member Magazine.

He has been interviewed on MSNBC-TV, Fox News Network TV, ABC-TV, The History Channel, TV3 (Barcelona, Spain), Voice of America, the AP Radio Network (“Newsweek on the Air”), WNYC-AM (“New York and Company”), National Public Radio, Monitor Radio Network, Simon Wiesenthal Center Radio Network, WOR-AM (New York: “The Joan Rivers Show”), CFRB (Toronto), KABC-AM (Los Angeles), KMCO (Kansas City), WLTW-FM (New York), WCBS-AM (New York), WTIC (Connecticut), NEWS12-NJ TV, CN8 TV (New Jersey), and numerous other stations.

Most recently, Kressel authored Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books), listed in the journal, Perspectives on Terrorism, as one of the Top 50 books on terrorism. Choice magazine called the book a “refreshingly unique. . . enlightening analysis.” Renowned Harvard professor Harvey Cox said “Kressel’s work could not be more timely. It has the advantage of taking religious movements with thoughtful seriousness and making vital distinctions clear. It is also written in a lucid and readable style.” A review in the Washington Times concluded: “All those in the counterterrorism community who wish to understand and respond to the characteristics of religious extremism that lead to terrorism will greatly benefit from reading Mr. Kressel’s important book.”

Kressel also wrote Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror (New York: Plenum Press), selected by Choice magazine as an “Outstanding Academic Book.” Writing about the book, The Washington Post stated that: “Kressel has a jeweler’s eye for deflating grandiose conjecture, especially when tainted by ideology. . . This book is a superb review of the literature on mass hate. Kressel is free of bias. . . It is easy to develop confidence in the author’s discernment.” Publishers Weekly called the book “. . . an illuminating psychosocial inquiry into the roots of mass hatred.” Sir Brian Urquhart, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, wrote that “Neil Kressel’s book is a masterly analysis of . . . [the] problem. . .” Larry McMurtry, the author of Lonesome Dove and other best-sellers, called the book “. . . arresting, frightening, and convincing” while Jeri Laber, the former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch — Helsinki, wrote: “His prose is moving and accessible, without in any way minimizing the complexity of the issues.”

In addition, Neil Kressel and Dorit F. Kressel, J.D., authored Stack and Sway: The New Science of Jury Consulting (New York: Perseus Books Group/ Westview Press: 2002). Writing in The Washington Monthly, New York Times editorial board member Dorothy Samuels said: “Readers interested in a carefully researched examination of this influential but largely hidden growth profession will find it in Stack and Sway… [T]his surprisingly engaging book provides an even-handed accounting of the methods and madness of this relatively new phenomenon, and possible implications for American justice. Best of all, it manages to do so without being preachy or simplistic. Indeed, the book’s real fun lies in the Kressels’ admirable habit of presenting from opposing angles the various issues raised by the panoply of services which jury consultants so enthusiastically provide.” The book has been reviewed or featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Economist, Judicature, Society, and many other publications and broadcasts.

Finally, in 1993, Kressel edited a textbook, Political Psychology: Classic and Contemporary Readings, still used in graduate and undergraduate courses


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