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  • 1.
    Greiwe, Teresa
    Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Criminology (KR).
    Do We Mistake Fiction for Fact?: Investigating Whether the Consumption of Fictional Crime-related Media May Help to Explain the Criminal Profiling Illusion2021Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The disparity between the ongoing use, the overall positive attitudes towards criminal profiling and the lack of empirical evidence for its validity is also referred to as criminal profiling illusion. Associated risks for society range from misled police investigations, hindered apprehensions of the actual offender(s), and wrongful convictions of innocent citizens to mistrust in the police and their methods. Research on potential explanations to the Criminal Profiling Illusion is still in its infancy but assumes that people receive and adopt incorrect messages favouring the accuracy and utility of criminal profiling. One suggested mechanism through which individuals may acquire such incorrect messages is the consumption of fictional crime-related media which typically present criminal profiling as highly accurate, operationally useful and leading to the apprehension of the offender(s). By having some relation to reality but presenting a distorted picture of criminal profiling, fictional crime-related media may blur the line between fiction and reality thereby increasing the risk for the audience to mistake fiction for fact. Adopting a cultivation approach adequate to examine media effects on one’s perception, the present study is the first to investigate whether the perception of criminal profiling may be influenced by the consumption of fictional crime-related media based on a correlation study. Although the results provide support for the assumption that misperceptions of criminal profiling are widely spread in the general population and associated with the consumption of fictional crime-related media, the found cultivation effects are small and must be interpreted cautiously. Considering that even small effects may have the potential to influence real-life decision-making, they may still be relevant and affect the society at large. 

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