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The thought processes of criminals : A semantic perspective

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Abstract

This study examines what may be learned from a semantic analysis of the discourse of criminal groups about elements of the cognitive map of the group’s members. The primary group examined comprised sex offenders who victimized children. The findings were compared with another criminal groupĀ – murderers. To examine their shared linguistic characteristics, a study was made of passages from 40 transcribed subject interviews, in which they tell their life stories. The function words from the passages were classified according to semantic fields, in order to identify what psychological and sociological insights can be gained from their use, a similar study was made of normative men’s stories. The semantic fields unique to the sex offenders are presented in this paper, and are compared with the fields used by the other two groups, together with a discussion of the significance of the words included therein.

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Keywords: cognitive map; murderers; psycholect; semantic analysis; semantic fields; sex offenders; thought processes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2020

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