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5 Behav. Sci. & L. 1 (1987)

handle is hein.journals/bsclw5 and id is 1 raw text is: 





                                                       INTRODUCTION
                                                         TO THIS ISSUE







           Homicidal Behavior











  The study of homocide is especially important to the practice of forensic psychiatry
and psychology and for understanding violence in general. A broad range of events and
behaviors are subsumed under 'violence' and under the more nebulous term 'aggression'.
In contrast, homicide is a more readily and reliably identifiable event--there is a dead
body. Homicide offers the promise of bringing order to the study of violence and offering
new information about its cause and ultimate prevention. It is therefore surprising how
little systematic research has been undertaken on the topic. Many case reports and un-
controlled group studies have offered suggestive leads for systematic investigation but
these leads have rarely been pursued. It is with great pleasure that I have had the
opportunity to edit this special issue of Behavioral Sciences and the Law devoted to
homicide. All of the articles are data-based and represent new information, resulting from
the efforts of researchers in a variety of disciplines. Homicide clearly requires the attention
of social and biological sciences together, but it is rare that multidisciplinary studies are
carried out or even presented together as they are in this issue.
  Rowley, Ewing, and Singer's study especially shows the interaction of social and
psychological factors in juvenile homicide and, as well, the study uncovers an important
bias in previous homicide research. Silverman and Mukherjee note that intimate homicides
more likely result in unstable relationships, suggesting that sociologists and psychologists
should study domestic violence together. The studies of Bain, Langevin, and their col-
leagues examine the biological-psychological axis of homicide. In examining endocrin-
ological functioning in killers, Bain et al. offer negative evidence that peripheral sex
hormones are important in homicide, but the authors note that metabolic and endocrine
factors in violence are, at present, far from ruled out. Langevin et al. investigate the
variables commonly examined separately in research reports, namely, personality and
diagnosis, substance abuse, and neuropsychological functioning. Packer's comparison of
insane and sane killers points to the need for better organizational processing of violent
offenders. His study is especially interesting in presenting cases in which a verdict of
not guilty by reason of insanity is reached in spite of contrary indication by examining
forensic psychologists. Cornell, Benedek, and Benedek offer a relatively large number


VOL. 5, NO. 1 -,1987

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