The TV show Criminal Minds is fiction, and so is "criminal profiling."
Many believe that criminal profilers can predict a criminal's characteristics from clues. Five academics say that's crap. They say there's no sound theory behind profiling, and no strong empirical evidence for it, either. Why do some believe in it?
- We hear anecdotes and stories that say it's effective.
- If we hear it works a lot of times, we'll believe that it works.
- Some people are called "criminal profilers," so they must be criminal profilers, right?
- Whenever profilers are correct, those predictions are overly emphasized.
- Reasoning errors.
- Making meaning out of ambiguous data.
- Imitating good ideas.
- Supposing something's true based on fiction.
Want to read the entire paper? Go to Brent Snook's site, here>>
Look for this entry to download the PDF file:
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