Interpreting motive

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Book Chapter

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Freeman, J., & Turvey, B. E. (2011). Interpreting motive. In B. E. Turvey (Ed.), Criminal profiling: An introduction to behavioural evidence analysis (311-329). Oxford, United Kingdom: Academic Press, Elsevier.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 160201

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can be defined as the emotional, psychological, and material needs that impel and are satisfied by behavior. In a criminal prosecution, the determination of motive is not necessary. Yet, while this is a legal reality, the failure to make the determination of motive is a significant investigative shortcoming, and any investigation that has failed to yield the motive behind the crime is subsequently incomplete.

Determinations of motive are not made directly, as it is not possible to read the mind of any criminal. Nor are confessions regarding motivation reliable without corroboration. This is because motives are not always the product of deliberate thought; they can subconscious and therefore not directly perceived or understood by those experiencing them.

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