Year: 2008 Source: Criminal Justice and Behavior, v.35, no.10, (October 2008), p.1231-1240 SIEC No: 20080970

Although certainly not alone, the field of police and criminal psychology seems to be an area that is highly susceptible to myths and misinformation. Whether it is the notion that police have higher suicide and divorce rates or that crime rates greatly increase during a full moon, there are many commonly held beliefs that are not supported by scientific evidence. This article discusses research conducted by the author and his students over the past several years to investigate the accuracy of some common beliefs in police and criminal psychology. Four principles are proposed that, if considered, might reduce the level of misinformation in police and criminal psychology. These principles include using primary sources, comparing apples with apples, avoiding the oversimplification of what is being studied, and understanding that in general, human judgment is not a good predictor of behavior.