Criminal behavior, criminal mind: Being caught in a "criminal spin"

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The innovative theory of the "criminal spin" presents a phenomenological description and interpretation of criminal conduct. The theory indicates a process that occurs in different phases of criminality, involving an escalation of criminal activity, thinking, and emotions that run beyond self-control, sometimes contrary to initial decision. Its phenomenology indicates an interaction between individual, group, and situation and a growing self-centeredness with two leading motives: "I can" and "I must." The first denotes a perceived legitimacy and capability to perform criminal conduct. The second reflects an existential threat and a belief that it must be removed by any action. These motives may operate in an acute or a chronic phase, within individuals, groups, or societies. The spin is a detectable process with known characteristics and prognosis. Implications for intervention are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1233
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • criminal spin
  • phenomenology
  • self-centeredness

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology


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