"Killer" Decisions: The Role of Cognition and Affect and ‘Expertise’ in Homicide

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


This paper explores the decision-making processes of people who kill, paying particular attention to the role of situational, interactional and emotional factors. The paper consider what killers were thinking and feeling immediately prior to and during the moments of homicide, what situational and emotional factors influence their decision to become embroiled in a lethal encounter and the extent to which they draw upon prior knowledge and ‘expertise’ in planning and/or executing homicide. The overall aim is to review existing research to illuminate whether and how those who commit homicide adopt particular cognitive processes that inform their ‘decisions’ to become involved in a lethal act.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages10
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Homicide
  • violence
  • decision-making
  • affect
  • rational choice
  • cognition
  • violence and expertise


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