Offender Profiling: Art Vs. Science

2815 Words 12 Pages
SOCU2253/SOCU2254 End-semester exam

Student name: Sumeyya Ilanbey

Student number: s338582

Course code:SOCU2253

Total word count (excluding reference list): 1610

SOCU2253/2254 End-semester Exam Instructions

This exam has been designed to assess your knowledge of the entire course. It includes twelve short answer questions from which you must answer eight questions.
Each question has a 200-word limit.
Please type your answer into the space provided below the question. When you have completed the exam, you can submit it via the TurnItIn tab under the Assessment folder.

The exam due date is 5:30pm, Friday 7 November.

Please submit the exam on time, as the following penalties for late submission will apply:

1. Exams
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Q2. Offender profiling is more art than science. Critically discuss this statement with reference to FBI-style offender profiling.


Offender profiling is more art than science because profilers are merely collecting data and analysing crime scene information to paint a picture of the characteristics of the offender or offenders. A fingerprint is science, but using that fingerprint/DNA strand/hair follicle/nail to construct and create is art – the information is your paint, you are the paintbrush and the end result is the artwork.

During an FBI-style offender profiling, there are four stages (Howitt, 2011 pg 263-265):
1. Data assimilation, which is the collation of police reports, crime scene photos, pathology reports, etc.
2. Crime scene classification: is the offender “organised” or “disorganised”? This can be deduced by observing how they’ve dealt with and treated the victim and the crime scene.
3. Crime reconstruction, which can just mean to clarify the offender’s modus operandi (method of operation) or the sequence of events.
4. Profile generation, whereby profilers present their hypothesis about the characteristics of the alleged
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Howitt, D 2011, Profile analysis 1: FBI-style offender profiling in Introduction to Criminal and Forensic Psychology, Loughbourough University, Pearson, Fourth edition

Q4. Genetics is an essential feature of some theories of crime. For example, while Eysenck’s biosocial theory of crime is regarded as extraordinary in its range and scope, he gave significant weight and importance to genetics.

In most genetic explanations of criminal behaviour, the XYY chromosome hypothesis and twin and adoption studies are used to argue that there is an inherited component to crime. These studies, however, have been largely discredited in forensic and criminal psychology. Evaluate the hypothesis that there is an inherited component to crime.


Hans Eysenck (cited in Howitt, 2011 pg 69) believed “genetic factors contributed enormously to human behaviour but they have their effects under the influence of environmental or social

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