PSY 476 – Profiling Documentary and the Cases of Williams, Bell and Hanson

PSY 476 – Profiling Documentary and the Cases of Williams, Bell and Hanson

PSY 476 – Profiling Documentary and the Cases of Williams, Bell and Hanson

For this Discussion, you will need to familiarize yourself with the difference between modus operandi and signature (ritual) behaviors. The Hazelwood & Warren article provides this, as do the Woodhams articles. You should use at least one of the articles to familiarize yourself with the difference. The power point may be of help as well.

In essence, modus operandi speak to the “How” of an offense, while signature speaks more to a “Why”. Modus Operandi behaviors are those behaviors which were necessary to successfully commit the offense(s). Modus Operandi behaviors serve the purpose of concealing the offender’s identity, aiding them in successful completion of the offense, or aid in their escape from the scene. Signature behaviors are behaviors which were unnecessary to commit the offense, but the offender chose to do anyway. Sometimes signature behaviors even act as a severe liability in that they potentially lead to identifying the offender (i.e., bite marks, bodily fluids, notes, etc). Signature behaviors are typically performed out of some long-held psychosexual fantasy or some psychological need.

Watch the first 45 minutes of the weblinked video “Profiling the Criminal Mind”. It covers three cases of criminal profiling; Wayne Williams, Larry Gene Bell, and Robert Hanson.

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Then use the video to respond to the below questions. You must use in-text time-stamps from the video in your answer.

1. Using one of the cases of either Williams, Bell or Hanson, identify at least one modus operandi behavior. Present the behavior to the Board and explain why it is modus operandi, what purpose the behavior serves, how it aids in the offense, etc. Remember, M.O. behaviors are the “how” elements of an offense and serve a purpose which facilitates successful completion of the crime, protection of identity or escape from the scene.

2. Using one of the cases of either Williams, Bell or Hanson from the documentary, identify at least one signature or ritual behavior. Remember, a ritual or signature behavior is a behavior that the offender did not need to do in order to complete the offense, but did so out of some psychological or psychosexual need. These are behaviors which go beyond what was necessary to commit the crime, even at the expense of possibly leaving behind evidence (i.e., identifying bite marks). Present the signature behavior to the board, explain why it is signature as opposed to MO.

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