Induction and deduction in criminal profiling

Wayne Petherick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter examines the logical structure of criminal profiling. Inductive profiling involves the application of statistical and probabilistic knowledge to a current case, and the source of this information is usually criminological studies, the profiler's own experience, intuition, bias, stereotypes, and generalizations. The strength of the conclusion reached through inductive profiling is contingent on the probability of the knowledge or research that has been utilized. It is found that although useful in developing hypotheses, induction is not well suited to the final determination of offender characteristics. It is observed that deductive profiling involves the assessment of the physical material relating to the current case. Deductive profiling analyzes the evidence in the context of the case. Sound reasoning and critical thinking skills are applied to arrive at a logical conclusion. It is suggested that once the case has been thoroughly examined and hypotheses have been generated, then the profiler can attempt to provide a behavioral interpretation of the physical evidence. Apart from the practical implications, through an increased awareness of the logic and reasoning employed in the profiling process, one will also be better able to understand the individual methods and the utility they offer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSerial Crime
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780123749987
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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