Criminal Personality Profiling

Criminal personality profiling has been labelled as a helpful technique for “identifying the major personality and behavioural characteristics of an individual based upon an analysis of the crimes he or she has committed” (Pozzulo, Bennell, & Forth, 2009, p.73). The aim of this study was to critically study differences criminal personality profiling among groups of professional profilers, detectives, psychologists, and students, using closed police cases--one sex offense and one homicide (Pinizzotto & Finkel 1990, p.215). Pinizzotto and Finkel hypothesized that: a) detectives would recall a greater number of details than any other group, given their training background and secondly, b) professional profilers would recall more details are relevant to personality profiling (Pinizzotto & Finkel 1990, p.218).

For the sample, Pinizzotto and Finkel used 28 subjects for their research study. They tested 5 groups of participants on both a homicide and sex offense case materials. These groups consisted of professional profilers/teachers, trained profilers, police detectives, clinical psychologists and undergraduate students.   The very first step in undertaking this study involved obtaining detailed case materials compiled by a police investigation from a previously solved homicide and sex offense case. The specific materials in the cases included crime scene photographs, crime scene reports, victimology reports, and toxicology reports. Also, to go along with the case materials each subject was given a multiple choice question sheet relating to the characteristics of possible offenders, such as gender, age, race, residence, etc.

The next step in the study involved testing the group members and comparing their performance in terms of the level of accuracy in creating a criminal profile from the characteristics of the suspect in the homicide or sex offense case. The key objective of the study was to critically examine the capabilities of the professional profiler. The...