Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > The criminal profiling illusion

Electronic data

  • Snook et al

    Rights statement: 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/

    Submitted manuscript, 246 KB, PDF document

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

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

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Published

Standard

The criminal profiling illusion : what's behind the smoke and mirrors? / Snook, Brent; Cullen, Richard M.; Bennell, Craig et al.

In: Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 35, No. 10, 10.2008, p. 1257-1276.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

Snook, B, Cullen, RM, Bennell, C, Taylor, PJ & Gendreau, P 2008, 'The criminal profiling illusion: what's behind the smoke and mirrors?', Criminal Justice and Behavior, vol. 35, no. 10, pp. 1257-1276. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854808321528

APA

Snook, B., Cullen, R. M., Bennell, C., Taylor, P. J., & Gendreau, P. (2008). The criminal profiling illusion: what's behind the smoke and mirrors? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(10), 1257-1276. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854808321528

Vancouver

Snook B, Cullen RM, Bennell C, Taylor PJ, Gendreau P. The criminal profiling illusion: what's behind the smoke and mirrors? Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2008 Oct;35(10):1257-1276. doi: 10.1177/0093854808321528

Author

Snook, Brent ; Cullen, Richard M. ; Bennell, Craig et al. / The criminal profiling illusion : what's behind the smoke and mirrors?. In: Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2008 ; Vol. 35, No. 10. pp. 1257-1276.

Bibtex

@article{c2d524cd2a6e429492d7ca39ceeac18d,
title = "The criminal profiling illusion: what's behind the smoke and mirrors?",
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.",
keywords = "criminal profiling, police investigations, belief formation, pseudoscience, PERSONALITY INTERPRETATIONS, OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS, PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES, MODUS-OPERANDI, VIOLENT CRIME, SMALL SAMPLES, CONTAGION, ACCURACY, METAANALYSIS, ACCEPTANCE",
author = "Brent Snook and Cullen, {Richard M.} and Craig Bennell and Taylor, {Paul J.} and Paul Gendreau",
note = "The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35 (10), 2008, {\textcopyright} 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/",
year = "2008",
month = oct,
doi = "10.1177/0093854808321528",
language = "English",
volume = "35",
pages = "1257--1276",
journal = "Criminal Justice and Behavior",
issn = "0093-8548",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "10",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The criminal profiling illusion

T2 - what's behind the smoke and mirrors?

AU - Snook, Brent

AU - Cullen, Richard M.

AU - Bennell, Craig

AU - Taylor, Paul J.

AU - Gendreau, Paul

N1 - 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/

PY - 2008/10

Y1 - 2008/10

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - criminal profiling

KW - police investigations

KW - belief formation

KW - pseudoscience

KW - PERSONALITY INTERPRETATIONS

KW - OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES

KW - MODUS-OPERANDI

KW - VIOLENT CRIME

KW - SMALL SAMPLES

KW - CONTAGION

KW - ACCURACY

KW - METAANALYSIS

KW - ACCEPTANCE

U2 - 10.1177/0093854808321528

DO - 10.1177/0093854808321528

M3 - Journal article

VL - 35

SP - 1257

EP - 1276

JO - Criminal Justice and Behavior

JF - Criminal Justice and Behavior

SN - 0093-8548

IS - 10

ER -