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The criminal profiling illusion:what's behind the smoke and mirrors?

Snook, Brent and Cullen, Richard M. and Bennell, Craig and Taylor, Paul J. and Gendreau, Paul (2008) The criminal profiling illusion:what's behind the smoke and mirrors? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35 (10). pp. 1257-1276. ISSN 1552-3594

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    Abstract

    There is a belief that criminal profilers can predict a criminal's characteristics from crime scene evidence. In this article, the authors argue that this belief may be an illusion and explain how people may have been misled into believing that criminal profiling (CP) works despite no sound theoretical grounding and no strong empirical support for this possibility. Potentially responsible for this illusory belief is the information that people acquire about CP, which is heavily influenced by anecdotes, repetition of the message that profiling works, the expert profiler label, and a disproportionate emphasis on correct predictions. Also potentially responsible are aspects of information processing such as reasoning errors, creating meaning out of ambiguous information, imitating good ideas, and inferring fact from fiction. The authors conclude that CP should not be used as an investigative tool because it lacks scientific support.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Criminal Justice and Behavior
    Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35 (10), 2008, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2008 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Criminal Justice and Behavior page: http://cjb.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/
    Uncontrolled Keywords: criminal profiling ; police investigations ; belief formation ; pseudoscience ; PERSONALITY INTERPRETATIONS ; OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS ; PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES ; MODUS-OPERANDI ; VIOLENT CRIME ; SMALL SAMPLES ; CONTAGION ; ACCURACY ; METAANALYSIS ; ACCEPTANCE
    Subjects:
    Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
    ID Code: 49930
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 21 Sep 2011 09:19
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 18 Aug 2014 09:05
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/49930

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