Canter, David V. and Ioannou, Maria (2004) Criminals emotional experiences during crimes. International Journal of Forensic Psychology, 1 (2). pp. 71-81. ISSN 1448-4374

Eighty-three incarcerated offenders indicated, on a forced choice questionnaire, the
emotions they had experienced whilst committing a specific crime they remembered well.
Smallest Space Analysis of these emotions showed they reflected the circumplex
structure of emotions postulated by Russell (1997) for non-criminal experiences.
However, they showed a stronger distinction between pleasure and displeasure than for
the normal range of non-criminal experiences, with Russell’s ‘arousal’ dimension being
less clearly differentiated. Further analysis showed that different subsets of crimes were
more like to be associated with different emotions. In broad terms, property crimes were
found to be more pleasurable than crimes against the person. The results are taken as
support for Katz’s (1988) proposal that the emotional significance of crimes needs to be
considered more fully in order to understand the psychological processes that sustain and
encourage crimes. The utility of Russell’s model indicates that the emotions experienced
by criminals whilst committing crimes can be conceptualised in ways similar to other
emotional experiences.

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