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Lecture 7

CRIM 316 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Operant Conditioning, Limbic System, Precrime

Course Code
CRIM 316
Eric Beauregard

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Week 7, Lecture 7 Oct 18 - Lethal Outcome in Sexual Assaults
Is the Homicidal Sex Offender Different From the Non-homicidal Sex Offender?
Definition and some numbers
Problems of definition
1. No legal definition(for sexual homicide)
2. Confusion of terms (lust, serial, mass murders)
3. Gender and age of victims
Definition from the FBI:
o A murder is of a sexual nature when it includes one of the following:
A) Victims attire or lack of attire
B) Exposure of the sexual parts of the victims body
C) Sexual positioning of the victims body
D) Insertion of foreign objects into the victims body cavities
E) Evidence of sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal), and
F) Evidence of substitute sexual activity, interest, or sadistic fantasy
Some Numbers
o CANADA (1974-1986): 305 sex homicides in Canada (23/year) = *approx. 4%* of all homicides & 0.9/100 000
o Serial murder 1975-1995 = 153 serial murderer killing more than 1400 victims
60% of serial murderers = sexual murderers
USA: 2% of sex murderers = serial
CANADA: 3% of sex murderers = serial
Serial and Sex Murderers
o There may be more scholars studying serial murder than there are offenders committing it (Fox & Levin,
o Studies of sexual homicide that emphasize cases of serial murderers do not produce a knowledge
representative of the entire phenomena
Difficulties related to estimates
o Sexual homicides are underestimated:
1. Evidence of the crime scene = unclear
2. Victims body destroyed disappearance
3. Victims disappearance not even reported (marginal victim: ex. prostitutes in Pickton case)
Some Theoretical Models of Sexual Homicide
Biological theory (erotophonophilia)
o Causes: brain tumour of neurological injuries due to head trauma = limbic system in affected
o Disease = brain becomes pathologically activated to transmit messages of attack simultaneously with
messages of sexual arousal and mating behavior
Psychological theories
o Classical conditioning
Coercion and violence are conditional stimuli that trigger conditional response of sexual arousal in
sexual murderers (Meloy, 2000)
Habitual process (MacCulloch et al., 1983)
o Operant Conditioning (MacCulloch et al., (1983))
1. Fantasies as a way of overcoming/coping feelings of incompetence
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