Library Speaker Series:
"What Makes Special Operations Forces Special? Clues from Psychobiological Studies of Elite Military"

Presented by Dr. A. Charles Morgan
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Marvin K. Peterson Library, Upper Level


Military Special Operations personnel are often called upon to make rapid, life-dependent, decisions while operating in precarious and ambiguous environments. In addition, SOF personnel must learn to use new, emerging technologies and navigate the human terrain within multicultural environments.

These conditions place a premium on attention capacity, decision making ability, as well as the ability to integrate with and influence other human beings. Over the years, members of SOF have been noted to be more stress resilience and less vulnerable to the negative impact of combat operational stress. In this lecture, Dr. Morgan will present data from psychobiological studies in SOF and discuss some of the reasons why SOF personnel are different and why they are able to perform better under stress.

Biographical Information

CA Morgan III MD, M.A. Dr. Morgan is Forensic Psychiatrist who is currently with the National Security Program, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven CT


Dr. Morgan received his medical degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and completed his training in psychiatry and in Forensic psychiatry at Yale University. Prior to joining the National Security program at the University of New Haven in 2014, Dr. Morgan was on the faculty of medicine at Yale for 25 years.


Dr. Morgan’s expertise is sought by professionals and organizations who are interested in one of three main areas: Credibility Assessments related to Selection, Security and Human Intelligence; Forensic Psychiatry Issues (i.e. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eyewitness Identification, criminal/civil assessments) and the Neuroscience of human cognition and performance under stress.


With respect to his work in Credibility Assessments/Selection/Human Intelligence, Dr. Morgan was an intelligence officer for the CIA, and analyst with the Counter-intelligence section of the Department of Energy and an operational psychiatric consultant for the US DoD. In these roles he developed numerous methodologies for assessing humans in differs contexts related to security intelligence and DoD needs. Based on his work with these organizations, Dr. Morgan has consulted to other government agencies (e.g., the FBI, DIA) as well as private organizations.


With respect to his work in Forensic Psychiatry and the Neuroscience of human cognition and performance, Dr. Morgan has received grants and has published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers on learning, stress, PTSD and performance in Special Operations forces. For his work Dr. Morgan was awarded the US Army Award for Patriotic Service in 2008 and awarded the 2010 Sir Henry Welcome Medal and Prize for his development of interventions to buffer the negative impact of stress on human cognition, memory, learning and operational performance.


Dr. Morgan is currently a faculty member in the National Security Program at the University of New Haven where he teaches intelligence analysis and issues in detecting deception. He continues to perform selection and assessment evaluations and operational psych consultation for the U.S. Department of Defense. The products developed from Dr. Morgan’s research have been vetted and validated domestically as well as in a theatre of operations (Afghanistan).


Dr. Morgan's web page

Watch The Presentation