Forensic Psychology


What is criminal profiling?

Criminal profiling involves the attempt to identify psychological, demographic, and behavioral features of the criminal solely from crime scene evidence. Over the past thirty years or so, criminal profiling has become very popular in law enforcement and is now a widespread practice in many different countries. Its popularity is reflected in the NBC-TV show called Profiler. While there have been a number of attempts to develop theories and systems of criminal profiling, there is very little actual scientific evidence to show that it works. There is even debate among researchers whether criminal profiling can even be scientifically validated if appropriate research were done. In a 1990 study by Anthony Pinnozotto and Norman Finkel, profilers were more accurate than other groups (composed of detectives, psychologists, and students) when identifying demographic characteristics of sex offenders, but less accurate than detectives with regard to homicides.


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