Homicide, Psychology of

Computed across a lifespan of 75 years, there is a 1 in 200 chance that an individual in the United States will be murdered. The frequency of homicide and this startlingly high statistic warrant more concerted efforts to research the psychological underpinnings motivating homicide. The history of the study of the psychology of homicide is replete with theoretical shifts—some of which have led to empirical dead ends and others to tremendous advances. Explaining the motivations of a murderer historically has been a difficult task for psychologists because of the wide array of individual, situational, and cultural variables influencing the development of homicidal behavior. Recent psychological research includes both theoretical and methodological advances that have allowed for new, unprecedented insights into the psychology of homicide.

Theoretical Perspectives

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