Social scientists, like all humans, spend a great deal of time predicting what other people are going to do. Our personal sense of security is built on the predictability (or otherwise) of our parents and carers. So prediction of behaviour may seem, intuitively, to be a human strength. However, psychology thrives on the counter-intuitive — often so-called common sense turns out to be scientifically wrong.
Now think about the problems involved with ‘reverse-engineering’ human behaviour. The essence of criminal profiling is to work backwards from the behaviour to the person; backwards from the criminal act to deduce something of the criminal. The feats of Sherlock Holmes are fictional, as are the television dramas of CSI. Is this theatrical stuff based on reality at all? And is the reality scientifically sound?
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