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Does facial width-to-height ratio predict male offender aggression?

Christopher Burris (St Jerome’s University, Waterloo, Canada)
Sherilyn Edwards (University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 14 September 2017

Issue publication date: 19 October 2017

195

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the previously observed link between greater facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and interpersonal aggression in men (see Haselhuhn et al., 2015), the purpose of this paper is to test whether fWHR could differentiate among male offenders as a function of the relative aggressiveness of the crime for which they had been convicted.

Design/methodology/approach

fWHR measurements (n=550) were computed based on a large subset of male offenders available on a public domain database. Each offender’s index offense and possible confounding variables such as age, ethnicity, and body mass index were also recorded.

Findings

Multiple analyses yielded no evidence of a relationship between male fWHR and the comparative level of violence of their conviction offense.

Originality/value

Establishing an empirical basis for probable parameters of an unknown offender’s facial structure could have a considerable practical value for criminal profiling purposes. fWHR – at least as it has been most frequently assessed – does not appear to be a facial parameter that is useful for this purpose, however.

Keywords

Citation

Burris, C. and Edwards, S. (2017), "Does facial width-to-height ratio predict male offender aggression?", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 280-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-03-2017-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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