Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Criminals emotional experiences during crimes

By David V. Canter and Maria Ioannou


Eighty-three incarcerated offenders indicated, on a forced choice questionnaire, the\ud emotions they had experienced whilst committing a specific crime they remembered well.\ud Smallest Space Analysis of these emotions showed they reflected the circumplex\ud structure of emotions postulated by Russell (1997) for non-criminal experiences.\ud However, they showed a stronger distinction between pleasure and displeasure than for\ud the normal range of non-criminal experiences, with Russell’s ‘arousal’ dimension being\ud less clearly differentiated. Further analysis showed that different subsets of crimes were\ud more like to be associated with different emotions. In broad terms, property crimes were\ud found to be more pleasurable than crimes against the person. The results are taken as\ud support for Katz’s (1988) proposal that the emotional significance of crimes needs to be\ud considered more fully in order to understand the psychological processes that sustain and\ud encourage crimes. The utility of Russell’s model indicates that the emotions experienced\ud by criminals whilst committing crimes can be conceptualised in ways similar to other\ud emotional experiences

Topics: BF
Publisher: University of Wollongong
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. I felt out of control
  2. (1987). Multidimensional Similarity Analysis. doi
  3. (1999). The Thrill of it All: Youthful Offenders and Auto Theft. In P.Cromwell, In their own words: Criminals on crime. 2st Ed. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing
  4. (1989). When Ladies Go AThieving: Middle Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.