Forensic psychology is the use of science based on the mind and behavior relating to law and legal matters (Nordqvist, 2009 & "Forensic Psychology," 2010). The word psychology comes from the Greek word psyche meaning "breathe, spirit, soul", and the Greek word logia meaning the study of something. The use of psychology dates back to 44 B. C during the assassination of Julius Caesar ("History of Forensic Psychology," n. d. ). In 1879 Wilhelm Wundt, originally from Germany, founded psychology as an actually independent experimental field of study.
He set up the first aboratory that carried out psychological research exclusively at Leipzig University. Wundt is known today as the father of psychology (Nordqvist, 2009). Forensic psychology involves sentencing criminals, determines guilt or innocence, eyewitness accuracy, and assists in the profiling of criminals (Nordqvist, 2009). In forensic psychology criminal profiling or also known as psychological profiling is a key factor in the criminal investigation.
The main purpose of criminal profiling is to provide the police with a psychological profile of the personality of the perpetrator that could then be used to direct the investigative search. It also involves investigating an offender's behavior, motives and background in an attempt to turtner guide an investigation. Research shows that offender's that repeatedly rape or kill are driven by a sensitive public fear for their actions and media attention, which could eventually lead to their arrest. Analyzing the criminal's habits and customs allows investigators to trace similarities between previous crimes.
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When these details of their lifestyle are made public, friends, neighbors and colleagues may recognize them (Psychological Profiling, 2005. ) In homicide case, for example, FBI agents gather personality report through questions about the murderer's behavior. During this investigation four main phases are put into play to profile a suspect such as antecedent, method and manner, body disposal, and post offensive behavior. The first is antecedent: what fantasy or plan, or both, did the murderer have in place before the act?
What triggered the murderer to act some days and not others? The second is method and manner: What type of victim or victims did the murderer select? What was the method and manner of murder: shooting, stabbing, strangulation or something else? The third is body disposal: Did the murder and ody disposal take place all at one scene, or multiple scenes? The last is post offense behavior: Is the murderer trying to inject himself into the investigation by reacting to media reports or contacting investigators? (Winerman, 2010. Each step helps analyze the suspect and brings forth new information needed to crack the case. Investigators use this technique often in all types of cases usually the cases dealing with the murder of an individual or more. The first documented case using criminal profiling was in the year of 1940 in New York City. This profile dealt with a "The Mad Bomber"(or F. P. he initials he used to sign his mysterious, paranoid letters) named George Metesky responsible for a series of random bombing attacks across New York within 16 years. (Winerman, 2010. Due to the success of George Meteskys criminal profile, which profile in every detail was matched, he was found insane and committed to the Mattawan asylum for the criminally insane (Madden, 2010). In another case forensic psychology was used to help solve the murder of two year old James Bulger. In this case the suspects were the ones you least expected to even commit such a daring act. On February 12, 1993 little James Bulger was kidnapped rom a shopping store while with his mother by two ten year old boys Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.
The two boys raped, beat, and tortured young James and left him to die. Detectives found him left on a railway line brutally beaten on both his face and head on February 14. Robert and Jon were profiled as adults because both knew the difference between right and wrong. Both Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were charged on February 20, 1993 with abduction and murder although they were found guilty of the murder of Bulger on the 24 of November making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history.
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