The Investigative Psychology Research Unit is currently conducting research projects in the following main areas:
Linking Serial Violent Crime
Behavioral linkage analysis is the process of determining that multiple crimes have been committed by the same perpetrator (i.e. constitute part of a series) based on behavioral similarities across those crimes. The extent to which behavioral linking is feasible relies on two key hypotheses, both of which must be supported in order to conclude that behavioral crime linking is a valid and reliable investigative technique: (a) the individual differentiation hypothesis which states that the offenses of one offender will be distinctively different from offenses of other offenders, and (b) the consistency hypothesis which states that a degree of identifiable behavioral similarity across offense series will be evident. Current IPRU research in this area, therefore, focuses on two main goals: First, to identify the most appropriate unit of analysis that can be used to reliably differentiate crime scenes of different offenders. Our studies focus on empirically testing various crime scene classification schemes and understanding the factors that may influence offender’s behaviors, such as the type of victim and the situational aspects of the crime. The second goal is to understand how consistency of this unit of analysis is manifested across crimes. The key methodological issue that we focus on is how to operationally define consistency to be able to fully capture the dynamic nature of behavioral patterns across crimes. For more information please see our publications.
Homicides Involving Prostitutes (HIP) Project
The HIP project focuses on homicides involving prostitutes and sex workers. Data on solved and unsolved single, as well as serial, homicides of sex workers are being collected from public media sources (e.g., newspapers) worldwide, and coding is currently underway. This project aims to improve our understanding of the distinct behavioral patterns and types of offenders who exclusively target this high risk victim group, as well as our understanding of how victimization of prostitutes fits within a generalized pattern of non-target specific violence. Issues of solvability and behavioral linkage are also being examined. For more information please see our presentations section.
Homicide and Rape Profiling Index (HPI-R©) Project
The HPI-R project is linked to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and FBI Behavioral Science Unit Collaborative Research Project. Researchers first undergo intensive training on our lab-created and validated coding dictionary, the Homicide & Rape Profiling Index (HPI-R, 2011). This coding dictionary is used in the IPRU for data collection from archived police case files. Once the training is completed, researchers work independently to code police case files and collect data to be used for research projects within the IPRU.
If you would like more information or are interested in training, please see HPI-R Training.
Sex Offender Profiling (SOP) Project
The SOP project is an interdisciplinary project looking at the relationship between behavioral crime analysis (i.e. offender profiling) and risk assessment of sex offenders. This project aims to combine the knowledge base from both of these fields in order to refine their core principles and improve upon both processes. Issues of behavioral consistency, salience, and outcome prediction are also addressed. Read More
Profiling in Court (PIC) Project
The PIC project looks at the decisions surrounding expert testimony on or related to profiling and linkage analysis, particularly in cases involving violent interpersonal crime, and the potential impact of the testimony. Additional factors, such as background of the expert and the way in which the testimony is presented are also being explored. For more information please see our presentations section.
The Department offers a wide array of foundational, specialized and interdisciplinary courses that provide students with an overall knowledge of the field. The Bachelor of Arts in forensic psychology, the first and most prestigious one of its kind in the country, is designed for students interested in the relationship between psychology and the legal system, especially the criminal justice system. All John Jay students have an opportunity to minor in psychology and specialize in addiction studies.
The Master’s in Forensic Psychology program is designed to train practitioners to provide psychological services to and within the criminal justice system as well as to prepare students for doctoral study in psychology. The Department also offers a new New York State licensure-eligible Master’s in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. Additionally, the Postgraduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology offers an 18-credit Certificate to those mental health professionals who wish to compliment their training with an additional focus in forensic psychology, with a choice of six different sub specializations. Finally the MA-JD in Forensic Psychology and Law offers a 4-year program with NY Law School, training lawyers with a specialization in Forensic Psychology and Mental Disability Law. The MA faculty are constantly working on expanding student opportunities. On February 7th, 2017, a new MA certificate in Victimology Studies was approved by the State which will be the first forensically-oriented victimology program of study within a psychology department.
In addition, our department is a leading institution on forensic and clinical psychology research. The Doctoral Program in Psychology of the City University of New York (CUNY) is housed in our Department. We offer two tracks of doctoral study: Clinical and Psychology and Law.
Please contact us for any additional information or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-237-8771.
Let's get psych'd!
Dr. Angela Crossman, Chair & Professor