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What is suspicious when trying to be inconspicuous? Criminal intentions inferred from nonverbal behavioral cues


Koller, Corinne I; Wetter, Olive Emil; Hofer, Franziska (2015). What is suspicious when trying to be inconspicuous? Criminal intentions inferred from nonverbal behavioral cues. Perception, 44(6):679-708.

Abstract

The present study investigates whether nonverbal behavioral cues to hidden criminal intentions during the build-up phase of a criminal act can be measured. To this end, we created recordings of actors once in a search situation and once committing a mock crime (theft or bomb placing) in a public crowded area. For ecological validation, we used authentic CCTV footage of real crimes in Experiment I. In this experiment, the two behavioral clusters pattern of movement in space and nonverbal communication behavior were analyzed. The results showed a deviance in pattern of movement in space for offenders' compared with the nonoffenders' condition as well as a bystanders' baseline. There was no significant difference between nonverbal communication behavior in the offenders' and nonoffenders' conditions. Experiment 2 was conducted to examine the two behavior clusters use of object- and self-adaptors while controlling for interpersonal differences. The results showed an increased use of object- and decreased use of self-adaptors during the build-up phase of a mock crime compared with a control condition (search). Thus, nonverbal behavior of offenders seems to differ from nonverbal behavior of nonoffenders. However, this holds only under the conditions of a valid baseline and of judging not only a single, typical behavioral cue but a whole cluster of nonverbal behaviors, such as pattern of movement in space or use of object-adaptors in general.

Abstract

The present study investigates whether nonverbal behavioral cues to hidden criminal intentions during the build-up phase of a criminal act can be measured. To this end, we created recordings of actors once in a search situation and once committing a mock crime (theft or bomb placing) in a public crowded area. For ecological validation, we used authentic CCTV footage of real crimes in Experiment I. In this experiment, the two behavioral clusters pattern of movement in space and nonverbal communication behavior were analyzed. The results showed a deviance in pattern of movement in space for offenders' compared with the nonoffenders' condition as well as a bystanders' baseline. There was no significant difference between nonverbal communication behavior in the offenders' and nonoffenders' conditions. Experiment 2 was conducted to examine the two behavior clusters use of object- and self-adaptors while controlling for interpersonal differences. The results showed an increased use of object- and decreased use of self-adaptors during the build-up phase of a mock crime compared with a control condition (search). Thus, nonverbal behavior of offenders seems to differ from nonverbal behavior of nonoffenders. However, this holds only under the conditions of a valid baseline and of judging not only a single, typical behavioral cue but a whole cluster of nonverbal behaviors, such as pattern of movement in space or use of object-adaptors in general.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:15 Dec 2015 09:33
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 15:38
Publisher:Pion
ISSN:0301-0066
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0301006615594271
PubMed ID:26489210

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