Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling


June 2009, Volume 6 ,Issue 2.

The Editorial essay is of particular relevance to current strains of research currently being conducted at The International Centre for Investigative Psychology at The University of Huddersfield.

An emerging research agenda for investigative interviewing: hypotheses from the narrative action system. Donna Youngs and David Canter.

The present issue of JIP-OP brings together an intriguing range of papers that cover a wide range of aspects of testimony and aspects of investigative interviewing. They show how the considerations of how testimony is obtained is broadening out from the memory improvement strategies that once dominated this area with attempts to detect deception, to cover many aspects of how testimony is obtained. This draws attention to the need for more careful examination of the variations in testimony eliciting processes that will be responsive to differences in context and crime. A research agenda is therefore proposed that draws on developments in the understanding of psychological differences between crimes. This research would study the relationship between the psychological processes underpinning offence actions and the interview behaviour of suspects or witnesses. With regard to suspects, recent developments in the modelling of offence style have indicated a narrative basis (narrative action system model) for understanding the patterns of offence actions and the perpetrator's psychological background and characteristics that can be inferred from these. It is therefore suggested that the Hero's Quest, Professional's Adventure, Revenger's Tragedy, and Victim's Irony offending narratives and the Object, Vehicle, and Person victim roles assigned within these, may provide a fruitful link to different patterns of interview behaviour, with consequent implications for approaches to interviewing. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Also of particular interest and current research at the centre in the same issue of the journal is the following:

The role of offender experience and crimes in shaping accounts. Eugenio de Gregorio.

The paper summarises the main findings obtained in a wide study on the construction of deviant actions' narratives. In this paper, we focused on two topics: both topics are crucial to suggest new directions in investigative psychology. Narratives provide investigative psychologists with new sets of tools to define criminal profiles, such as narrative profiling. This paper deals with a qualitative investigation undertaken by collecting narrative interviews. These interviews were conducted with 34 prisoners held in two penal institutes in Rome and their goal was to reveal the typical form of constructing accounts taken in a non-investigative context. The specific aim of the project was to show whether differences exist in the narrative accounts provided by perpetrators of crime considering two factors: the type of crime committed and the experience in the deviance arena, which are hypothesised to shape narrations. Interviews were analysed with particular reference to the Evaluation model by W. Labov. Participants were divided into three groups on the basis of the type of experience in the deviant field (professionals, intermediates and amateurs) and into four groups according to the crime committed (homicide, robbery and theft, and crimes linked to drugs and fencing). The results show the significant existence of clear differences in the reconstruction of the crime committed compared to the experience of the protagonist. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Review by Kathryn Hughes