Criminals Language From A Psycholinguistics Point-Of-View Literature Review

Length: 7 pages Sources: 15 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Literature Review Paper: #3855579 Related Topics: Criminal Profiling, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Behavior

Excerpt from Literature Review :

Criminal Psycholinguistics as a Predictor and/or Indicator of Criminality (rewritten for grammar) Language is used differently. Humans use it in many forms and in many means. As it represents someone's character, language helps everyone to perceive what kind of profile a person has. Thus, this brought the researcher to explore the psycholinguistics of criminals.

In this thesis, the researcher will focus mainly on the collective study in determining a criminal based on the language he is using, mainly in verbal form. This means that this study aims to see results of the verbal psycholinguistics or the speech of a suspected criminal.

The study will answer research questions regarding how criminals speak; how criminals use techniques in concealing their profiles; how criminals operate through telephone conversations; how criminals manage upon being caught and how criminals answer questions in police interrogations.

There have been studies that explain the generality of criminals by which leads the intelligence and security force to capture them in a faster and more systematic means. (Criminals are basically melancholic that means that they would rather use the telephone in arranging notorious operations than to talk to his victims face-to-face. -- need to check this/back up with a citation) Today, criminals are determined through different schemata such as the following: geographical origins; ethnicity or race; age; sex; and occupation, education level, and religious orientation or background. (Smith & Shuy, 2002).

Literature Review

Criminal profiling has been used for years by investigators to obtain data about a suspect in a criminal investigation. In recent years, with the increase in knowledge about a person's overall cognition and linguistic patterns, criminal profiling has focused even more on training personnel to examine a suspected criminal's spoken and/or written word. In fact, the language of criminals has oftentimes proven to be distinct from that of non-criminals ranging from differences that might be analyzed in the smallest phoneme or morpheme and also differences in the actual words or combination of words that may be used.

In fact, in the article "Early American Crime," we see that criminals have purposefully used a different language or Can't in order to make themselves incomprehensible to law enforcement. While criminal profiling does look at purposeful use of language in its analysis, it also looks at the language that criminals inadvertently or nonpurposefully use both before and after the crime in order to solve the mysteries surrounding the crime.

In "Criminal Profiling: Real Science or Just Wishful Thinking" by Daman A. Muller, Muller gives the reader an overview regarding different personality traits of different types of criminals. This article is helpful in obtaining a general idea of how criminal profiling works as well as in understanding some of the general personality types and how to figure them as an investigator of a crime. Criminal profiling, according to Muller, is designed to generate information on a perpetrator of a crime, usually a serial offender, through an analysis of the crime scene left by the perpetrator. The two main approaches to criminal profiling are crime scene analysis and investigative psychology. Muller examines each of these approaches and concludes that they should be considered as science and not just wishful thinking.

In "Criminal Profiling from Crime Scene Analysis," the writers -- four experienced FBI agents -- take the reader through the history of criminal profiling as well as through how to actually conduct a thorough crime scene analysis. The article explains which types of crimes and/or criminals are able to be profiled successfully in practice. Approximately thirty years later, the FBI issued "Forensic Psycholinguistics: Using Language Analysis for Identifying and Assessing Offenders" by FBI agents Sharon S. Smith and Roger W. Shuy. In the article, they discuss how criminal investigative analysis, which used to be called criminal profiling, is used as an investigative tool to connect suspects to their crimes through a close look at their behavior. They stated that an often underused...


In this article, they carefully list the different kind of information that written or spoken language might provide. In Susan H. Adams, M.A.'s article, "Statement Analysis: What Do Suspects' Words Really Reveal?" she explains how statement analysis assists the FBI and other crime investigators. Specifically, investigators use the techniques in this article to gain insight into a suspect before conducting an interview about a crime that has been committed. Through learning about a suspect and deciding if they are being deceptive or lying, the investigator has a much better chance of figuring out the real guilty party and then can work toward getting a confession from him or her during the interrogation process. She describes statement analysis as a two step process. The investigator first has to figure out what a truthful statement might read like or, in other words, what would the norm be. Then, the investigator can look for differences from or deviation from the norm to see if the person is lying. In statement analysis, the investigators rely more on written statements and look at the written words. There are four main things that an investigator analyzes: (1) parts of speech usage, (2) extraneous information, (3) lack of conviction, and (4) balance of the statement.

In the article "Focus on School Violence: Bomb Threat Assessments," Ronald F. Tunkel provides insight into how principles of psycholinguistics and statement analysis can assist investigators, educators, administrators, and law enforcement personnel in the specific situation of a school bomb threat. Trunkel believes that they can accurately figure out the credibility (truthfulness) of a threat and then how to figure out their response based upon looking at the language used by the person in his or her threat. He emphasizes that statement analysis involves studying a subject's language whether it is verbal or written. In addition, statement analysis can help to detect indicators of deception, uncover hidden, disguised meanings or motivations, or uncover areas of sensitivity to the subject. Furthermore, the first person active tense and unequivocal language signals a decent level of commitment by the person who is threatening criminal activity.

The article "Comparative and Non-Comparative Forensic Analysis Techniques," explains the relationship between the technique of language analysis and why under the Federal Rules of Evidence such evidence cannot be used in court to actually prove that a crime was committed. The article itself helps to make difficult law about the federal rules of court and criminal procedure and draws the connection between why it does not allow such evidence as a general rule or matter of law.

In the article by Jennifer MacLennan of the University of Saskatchuwan, "A Rhetorical Journey Into Darkness: Crime Scene Profiling as Burkean Analysis," MacLennan discusses yet another way that the profiling of a criminal's text or spoken word might help in the analysis of a crime or a criminal. In her article, she mentions that the victims of crimes often want to know why their random attacker chose them. After the crime is long over, the victims are left wondering if there was any reason behind the crime. Through examining the criminal's language or text, one can get glimpses or quick looks into the motivation of the criminal and perhaps this can help the victim to understand what happened and to then move forward.

While the language used by a criminal may show motivation or modus operandi, in the study entitled "In the Effect of Accent Evaluation and Evidence on a Suspect's Perceived Guilt and Criminality" by John A. Dixon and Berenice Mahoney, the authors examined the effect of accent evaluation, evidence, and crime type on the participants' perceptions of their guilt and criminality. This reading is the first reading to openly and unequivocally conclude that a particular speech act (i.e., drooling) does not necessarily lead to evidence of criminal behavior. After listening to tapes of criminals and police officers, the findings of this study revealed that contrary to previous research, one's accent did not influence attributions or perceptions of guilt either as a main effect or in interaction with variables. However, independent of evidence presented and crime type, the regional accented suspect was evaluated as more typically criminal and more likely to be re-accused of a crime than the standard-accented suspect.

In the text "Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice," the author Bilz provides an introduction to forensic linguistics and explains the techniques that are used in that discipline. Bilz also makes a controversial conclusion that the era of the confession will soon be replaced by DNA identification, fMRI lie detector tests, and data fingerprinting using the Internet. The author states a controversial opinion that soon courts will rely less and less on confessions; and, as a result the need and the study of psycholinguistics in the area of criminal law will soon become less and less relevant or important in the area of criminal investigation and prosecution. Since that day has yet to come, I will continue to explore the utility of forensic psycholinguistic analysis in the criminal arena.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Bilz, Kenworthey. "Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice."

Journal of Criminal. Law and Criminology 96.1 (2005): 367+.

Qu€estia. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

Casey-Owens, M. (1984). The anonymous letter-writer - a psychological profile? Journal of Forensic Sciences. 29. 816-819.
Publication, URL: http://www.corpus-

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