The Rachel Nickell trial has highlighted psychology in general and psychological profiling in particular. However, it is just as absurd to conclude from one well-publicised case that psychological profiling is of no use as it would be to conclude from previous, more successful cases that profiling can solve all the police's problems. An education in psychology teaches the dangers of over generalising from a limited number of instances.
If psychology were more widely taught, some of the woollier thinking surrounding this case might have been avoided.
Department of Psychology
University of Plymouth
The writer is president elect of the British Psychological Society.Reuse content