Investigative psychology

Youngs, D. and Spruin, E. (2014) Investigative psychology. In: Bruinsma, G. and Weisburd, D., eds. Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York: Springer. pp. 2391-2706 ISBN 9781461456896

This is the latest version of this item.

Full text not available from this repository.


Investigative Psychology (IP) is a subdiscipline of psychology developed by David Canter for the integration of a diverse range of aspects of psychology into all areas of criminal and civil investigation and legal processing (Canter 1995b, 2011; Canter and Youngs 2009). It considers all forms of offending action from arson, stalking, and robbery to murder, rape, or terrorism, exploring the psychological processes involved in the detailed actions and the influences on and characteristics of perpetrators. The starting point for such studies is the operational challenges that arise during investigation or in court, but the models and theories that have emerged inform the general psychological understanding of offending action and offenders.

The discipline may be understood in terms of the three key strands of academic activity which it encapsulates: (1) the modelling of criminal action and perpetrator inferences (the focus here is on the differentiation of patterns of criminal action and the determination of the psychological processes underlying these differences that have their origins in individual differences and experiential or lifestyle characteristics of the offender (see Canter and Youngs 2009)), (2) the investigative processes (this includes the study of investigative interviewing techniques as well as the decision-making processes of investigators and juries; although less developed, it extends to considerations of effective legal questioning techniques in court), and (3) the assessment and improvement of investigative information/legal evidence (this includes the study of eyewitness testimony, as well as addressing questions of veracity whether through the study of false allegations, false appeals, false confessions, or forensic psycholinguistic studies of authorship attribution).

Although the discipline is based upon a distinct philosophical approach to human beings and a particular meta-methodological approach to studying them, the discipline may also be readily understood in terms of the specific and concrete operational questions it seeks to answer.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Psychology
pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Social Sciences
pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Law and Criminal Justice Studies
Depositing User: Dr Liz Spruin
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2015 11:12
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 11:12

Available Versions of this Item

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00