Journal Published Online: 01 January 2002
Volume 47, Issue 1

Forensic Implications of Biting Behavior: A Conceptually Underdeveloped Area of Investigation



Within the context of a criminal investigation the human bitemark traditionally provides the forensic dentist with both physical and biological evidence. In recent years, however, examples exist where in addition to discussing physical and biological evidence, expert witnesses have also testified in court regarding the behavioral aspects of biting behavior. Interested in this additional source of evidence, the authors reviewed the research literature from which biting behavior could be explained. The review found a hiatus of empirical knowledge in this respect, with only two papers seemingly related to the topic.

With this dearth of knowledge in mind, the authors present a framework for further analysis and tentatively suggest reasons for biting behaviors, using a range of psychological models. The article ends with a cautionary note that vague and often misleading behavioral assumptions must not be applied to bitemark testimony until further data are available.

Author Information

Webb, DA
University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Sweet, D
Bureau of Legal Dentistry, University of British Columbia, Canada
Hinman, DL
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tallahassee, FL
Pretty, IA
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Pages: 4
Price: $25.00
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Stock #: JFS15208J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15208J