Metacognition in criminal profiling

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Woodhouse, B., & Petherick, W. (2009). Metacognition in criminal profiling. In W. Petherick (Ed.), Serial crime: Theoretical and practical issues in behavioral profiling (pp. 145-170). Burlington, USA: Elsevier Academic Press.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1602

© Copyright 2009, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




As with many professions, one of the more serious problems that confronts the profiling community is that of the inept examiner. Deliberately unethical behavior is one thing, but ongoing incompetence because of profiler ignorance is something else entirely. In some instances, ignorance is the result of a metacognitive deficit caused by a lack of study, a lack of training, or a general lack of mental dexterity. In such instances, the profiler will continually do the wrong thing, such as using flawed methods and erroneous logic, because he lacks the ability to recognize his own ineptitude; the profiler cannot perceive when his methods and reasoning are wrong or why, let alone that they should be corrected and how.

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