Meloy’s Bimodal Theory of Affective (Reactive) and Predatory (Instrumental) Violence

  • Tia Hoffer
  • Holly Hargreaves-Cormany
  • Yvonne Muirhead
  • J Reid Meloy
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


This section explains different types of violence and explains the affective and predatory violence. The affective violence is characterized by high levels of autonomic arousal and emotions due to a perceived imminent threat. Predatory violence is characterized as an absence of autonomic arousal, emotion, but with greater planning and a lack of perceived threat. In addition, the affective and predatory violence types are a continuum of “bimodal distribution.”


Bimodal view of violence Affective violence Predatory violence Reactive violence Instrumental violence Autonomic arousal Degree of planning Premeditated Sympathetic arousal Family violence 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tia Hoffer
    • 1
  • Holly Hargreaves-Cormany
    • 2
  • Yvonne Muirhead
    • 3
  • J Reid Meloy
    • 4
  1. 1.Federal Bureau of InvestigationKapoleiUSA
  2. 2.Marymount UniversityArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Federal Bureau of InvestigationSan AntonioUSA
  4. 4.University of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA

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