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Emotional Experiences and Motivating Factors Associated with Fingerprint Analysis

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In this study, we investigated the emotional and motivational factors involved in fingerprint analysis in day-to-day routine case work and in significant and harrowing criminal investigations. Thematic analysis was performed on interviews with 13 experienced fingerprint examiners from a variety of law enforcement agencies. The data revealed factors relating to job satisfaction and the use of skill. Individual satisfaction related to catching criminals was observed; this was most notable in solving high profile, serious, or long-running cases. There were positive emotional effects associated with matching fingerprints and apparent fear of making errors. Finally, we found evidence for a need of cognitive closure in fingerprint examiner decision-making.
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Keywords: emotion; expertise; forensic science; motivation; need for closure; qualitative; satisfaction; thematic analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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