“Psychological Profiling: Past, Present, and Future”

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice

“The development of psychological profiling is examined from its use during World War II to its use today in criminal investigation.

“Profiling is generally based on the premise that an accurate analysis and interpretation of the crime scene and other locations related to the crime can indicate the type of person who committed the crime…In order for there to be any substantial progress toward the licensing of profilers…it will be necessary for profiling to become much more of a science than an art…

“In addition to computerized profiling, social scientists are making progress with forensic analysis of written documents. Hodges, Callahan, and Groesbeck are developing and experimenting with a concept that they refer to as “profile decoding” [since changed to “thoughtprint decoding”]. Profile decoding is based on Dr. Robert Langs’ theory of the unconscious mind and the encoding of hidden communication…This work is currently being applied to the JonBenet Ramsey kidnapping note. With this written document, these researchers are attempting to seek the identity and the motive of the author of the note by decoding and clarifying the hidden communication of the narrative of the note. This new profiling technique has the potential to increase law enforcement’s forensic capabilities in dealing with ransom notes and other criminal writing…

“Some observers of profiling in the United States may argue that the art of science of profiling by the FBI, although significant and important, has not progressed or moved forward since its development of the asocial disorganized and nonsocial organized types in the late 1970’s…It becomes readily apparent that policing is becoming a knowledge industry. In the age of information…policing must gather all the information possible and shape it into knowledge in a timely and effective manner…The better the profile, the better its forensic quality.

“The behavioral sciences have indeed contributed greatly to offender profiling as a tool for law enforcement. Now that this tool is readily available…it needs to be sharpened and honed through refinement of research techniques and the further development of theoretical constructs so that it can increase the effectiveness of criminal investigation.”
Steven A. Egger, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Springfield,
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Vol. 15 No. 3, August, 1999 242-261

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