Characteristics of Criminal Homicides

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 87
  • Published : November 20, 2002
Open Document
Text Preview
Michael Woodworth and Stephen Porter. (August 2002). In Cold Blood: Characteristics of Criminal Homicides as a Function of Psychopathy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 111, No. 3, 436-445. Overview

This study examined the correlation between psychopathy and the characteristics of criminal homicides committed by offenders. Problem
"It was hypothesized that the homicides committed by psychopathic offenders would be more likely to be primarily instrumental (I.e., associated with premeditation, motivated by an external goal, and not preceded by a potent affective reaction) or "cold-blooded" in nature (Pg. 436)." However, homicides committed by nonpsychopaths often would be "crimes of passion" associated with a high level of impulsivity/reactivity and emotionality. Method

A sample of 125 Canadian offenders were selected for the study. The entire sample was examined in two different ways. First, dual coding was used on a random selection of 21 offenders. These people were asked questions and scored a number of points depending on their responses. All file information on these offenders were made available to the blind coder. Second, a set of 33 cases were randomly selected for dual coding. These cases were different because all details were not made available to the blind coder. Results

The results confirmed the hypothesis; "homicides committed by psychopathic offenders were more instrumental than homicides by nonpsychopaths. Almost all (93.3%) of the homicides by psychopaths were primarily instrumental in nature compared with 48.4% of the homicides by nonpsychopaths (Pg. 436)." Conclusion

The authors' conclusions from their study went to prove what they believed to be the outcome. Nothing was found to be shocking or a surprise when reviewing the end results.
I feel the authors conclusions "hit the nail right on the head." From the start I agreed with their theory and while reading through the study, I became more engrossed with the...
tracking img