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After a storm comes a calm: International expert decision-making process regarding abstract definitions of emotional cool-off periods in sexual homicide

After a storm comes a calm: International expert decision-making process regarding abstract definitions of emotional cool-off periods in sexual homicide

Stefanska, Ewa B. ORCID: 0000-0002-5685-0763 and Tehan, Sarah N. (2021) After a storm comes a calm: International expert decision-making process regarding abstract definitions of emotional cool-off periods in sexual homicide. Psychology, Crime & Law. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1068-316X (Print), 1477-2744 (Online) (In Press) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316X.2021.1962869)

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Abstract

The Federal Bureau of Investigation coined the term ‘emotional cool-off period’ in relation to serial homicide defining it as any amount of time between kills where the perpetrator returns to their everyday life (Douglas et al., 1986). Since the term’s conception, cool-off periods have become a fundamental aspect of defining serial versus non-serial homicide cases in academia. Despite its usage frequency, it has been neither firmly defined nor empirically investigated. The present study aims to investigate the specific underpinnings of emotional cool-off periods in sexual homicide by utilising experts’ opinion in relation to distinguishing between serial and non-serial homicide cases. Twenty-eight experts took part in the study and they each scored 10 sexual homicide scenarios for emotional cool-off presence as well as influential factors they relied on when making their decision. The results indicated that inter-rater agreement was ‘poor’ across experts. When experts believed an emotional cool-off period was present, they relied on cognitive state indicators whereas when they believed an emotional cool-off period was absent they relied on evidence of arousal. The time was second most frequent factor. This suggests that experts prefer to base their judgement on the presence (rather than absence) of forensic evidence available to them.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cool-off; definition; reliability; serial vs non-serial; sexual homicide
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JX International law
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 17:50
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/33518

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