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Unspeakable Times
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How Accurate Is The Depiction of Behavioral Analysts In 'Criminal Minds?'

Updated 18 Jul 2019 5.2k views11 items

The public has long been fascinated by behavioral analysis, and Criminal Minds - which reached over 300 episodes and has aired for 14 years - shows people exactly what they want to see. It makes for riveting television, but the real work of behavioral analysts is much more complex.

That's not to say Criminal Minds is completely inaccurate - some of the show's cases are based off real serial killers - but behavioral analysis is a little less exciting than it's made out to be. For instance, rather than working in the field, behavioral analysts and criminal psychologists spend most of their time poring over reports created by law enforcement. They also only work on a handful of cases per year, each of which takes them weeks or months to complete.

Becoming a behavioral psychologist with the FBI is a long and hard road, but it's what makes those agents exceptional at their jobs. Profiling techniques have improved over time, and now involve careful scientific analysis as well as psychology. Still, there are problems with the field, leading some to question its effectiveness.

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