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Behavioral Science News

Having false memories is a real phenomenon

Tuesday 15 November 2005 in Behavioral Science 6 Comment(s)

Children and adolescents - even adults for that matter - may report with all sincerity that they had been sexually abused in the past or witnessed a murder or other crimes. But sometimes the person, though earnest, is wrong: The memory is a false one.

Why do they do what they do?

Thursday 27 October 2005 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

They are the latest faces of heinous crime in our country: Dennis Radar, known as the B-T-K killer, and Joseph Duncan - and they have been accused of torturing and killing many.

PTSD and Criminal Behavior

Saturday 5 October 2002 in Behavioral Science 53 Comment(s)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is described in the DSM IV as "the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor." In recent studies among incarcerated populations, PTSD has been found in approximately 48% of female inmates and 30% of male inmates. The following is an overview of PTSD, a discussion about how to arrive at a diagnosis, an explanation of how PTSD can play a role in criminal offenses, and a review of how PTSD may be acknowledged in sentencing procedures.

Psychopathy: An Evolutionary Perspective

Thursday 15 August 2002 in Behavioral Science 28 Comment(s)

Thesis Are psychopaths the result of human evolution? The goal of evolution is to maximize a specie's chance of survival, and there is evidence to show that the basis of psychopathy is an heritable predisposition to the disorder, a disorder which enhances the psychopathic individual's chance of survival. Therefore, is psychopathy indeed the result of human evolution?

Violence and Mental Illness

Sunday 17 February 2002 in Behavioral Science 16 Comment(s)

American Psychiatric Association : Factsheet

People who have mental illnesses very rarely make the news. The overwhelming majority - even those with severe disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder - want only to live in dignity, free from the suffering brought by their illnesses.

Psychogenic Inventory Part II

Thursday 20 December 2001 in Behavioral Science 11 Comment(s)

Psychosexual History cont... L. Fetishism 263. Is there any particular material, fabric, or substance which appeals to you to an extraordinary extent; which you especially like to touch, stroke, or handle, e.g., silk, velvet, rubber, mud, etc.? If so, give a detailed account of your interest in such material, fabric, or substance. Can you remember the first time it exerted unusual interest? How old were you? Under just what circumstances was your interest aroused? Does contact with the particular material, fabric, or substance under discussion ever provoke sexual excitement? If so, to exactly what extent? 264. Are there any particular objects, articles of wearing apparel, etc. which interest you to the point of sexual excitement? If so, give a full and detailed account of your experience with these, telling under just what circumstances and at just what age this interest was first manifested, and to exactly what extent the article, object, etc. excites you sexually. Have you ever made collections of the item or object in question, and if so, where or from whom? Have you ever masturbated with the aid of such article or object? M. Zoophilia 265. Did you as a child or adolescent ever attempt to have sexual relations with any animal, or engage in any sort of sexual activity with any animal? If so, describe in detail, stating your age at the time. Was such activity carried out secretly, or in the company of others? 266. Have you, since reaching adulthood, ever attempted to have sexual relations with any animal, or engage in any sort of sexual activity with an animal; or has there been any occasion when proximity to or contact with any animal caused you to become sexually excited? If so, give a full detailed account of any such experience. 267. Have you ever attended any exhibition in which a woman (or a man) had any sort of sexual relation with an animal? If so, what was your reaction to such an exhibition? N. Coprophilia 268. Have you any pronounced or extraordinary reaction to urine or feces? Does the sight of them disgust or attract you, or are you completely indifferent to them? 269. Can you recall any childhood episode in which urine or feces or both figured conspicuously? If so, describe it in detail, stating your age at the time and impression it made on you. 270. Did you in childhood or later ever have another person urine on you; or did you ever urinate on another person? If so, describe the episode in detail, stating your age at the time and the impression which it left on you. 271. Did you as a child ever drink, or attempt to drink, any urine; or to get another child to do so? If so, describe the circumstances in detail. 272. Do you ever suffer from constipation or diarrhea? If so, give some account of this. Are these conditions associated with any particular circumstances? 273. Are you extremely neat and tidy in your living quarters, or are you careless and "sloppy"? How do you keep desk or dresser drawers? Are you a fanatic about personal cleanliness, or are you somewhat lax in this respect? 274. Do you have an abnormally keen sense of smell? Are you particularly sensitive to certain odors? If so, to what odors? O. Necrophilia 275. Do dead bodies interest or fascinate you? Have you ever wanted to be an undertaker or to assist an undertaker? Have you ever had occasion to handle a dead body, and if so what effect did this have on you? 276. If you are a man, are you one of those who during sexual intercourse demands complete absence of any movement by your sexual partner, or who wants the sexual partner to be as lifeless as possible? 277. Have you ever had any dreams or phantasies of inflicting injury of any kind on a dead person? Can you recall having read any story, newspaper article, etc., involving interference with the dead? If so, what was your reaction? P. Sexual Stimulation 288. Have you ever attended "strip-poker" parties, or other similar gatherings at which sexual activities, or activities suggestive of sexual interest, took place? Did such parties include persons of both sexes, or were they confined to persons of one sex only? Give an account of such parties and your reaction them. 289. If you have indulged to any extent in alcohol, discuss in detail the relation between alcohol and sex in your own case. What influence do they have on each other? What sexual activity have you engaged in under the influence of alcohol that you have not engaged in otherwise? 290. Can you recall any passags in books, scenes in plays or moving pictures, or anything else which you have read or seen, which was provocative of considerable sexual excitation? If so, describe same, stating the particular feature which you think was responsible for the sexual excitement. 281. If you have at any time used any drug or drugs, discuss in detail the relation between this and sex in your own case. Have you engaged in any sexual activity under the influence of a drug that you would not have engaged in otherwise, etc.? 282. Are there any other forms of sexual stimulation not covered by the questions that you have already answered that have figured in your past experience? If so, give a detailed account of them, state your age at which you came in contact with them, and the extent to which they affected you. Q. Personal and Social Factors 283. Would you describe yourself as prudish? What do you mean by prudish? 284. Do you think that you could be described as "over-nice," too modest, or unusually "innocent"? Would this description have applied to you at any time during your childhood? If so, at what age? As a child, were you "over-good"? 285. What is your attitude toward risque stories? Are you easily disgusted? If so, by what? 286. In your friendships are you: demonstrative; cold; whimsical? Discuss. Do you think that your friendships reflect either a parental or fraternal interest? Discuss. 287. Which members of your family do you resemble? Do you have any special attraction or repulsion in relation to either of your parents or any of your siblings? If so, describe. 288. Have you shown any marked change of attitude toward any members of your family? If so, when did such change take place? Tell something about it and the reasons for it. 289. Have you at any time shown any marked reaction to either marriage or death in your family? If so, describe. 290. Do you consider that you have good appreciation of right and wrong in sex matters? Discuss. 291. How much conscious restraint do you impose on your sexual inclinations?

VII. Dream Life (292 - 299)
292. Do you dream frequently, occasionally, rarely, or are you one of those person's who insist that they do not dream at all? 293. Are your dreams vivid or vague? Are you frequently able to remember them upon wakening, or do they evaporate as soon as you wake up? 294. What sort of dreams do you have? Are they generally pleasant or unpleasant? Do you have any nightmares or terrifying dreams? If so, can you remember any such dreams that you have had in the past? 295. Do you have any recurring dreams, i.e., dreams which recur at intervals, depicting the same or similar situations? If so, what is the character of such dreams? Can you remember some of them? If so, describe them. 296. Do you have emission dreams? If so, can you describe some of these which you have had in the past? 297. Do you ever walk or talk in your sleep? If so, describe any such activity that you can remember or about which you have been told by others. 298. Do you have erotic dreams from which you awake in a state of sexual excitement but which do not culminate in emission? If so, give some account of these. 299. Can you remember from the past any outstanding dreams which made a deep impression on you because of their beauty, absurdity, unusual character, unpleasantness, fear element, or for any other reasons? If so, describe.
IX. Attitudes, Opinions, Viewpoints (300-312)
( Note: In answering questions, please do not confine yourself merely to an expression of your opinion, but state in each case whatever reasons you may have for the opinion which you have expressed ) A. Sexual Instruction 300. Do you believe that children should or should not be given sexual instruction? If you believe that they should be given such instruction, at what age do you recommend sexual instruction for (a) boys; (b) girls? By whom do you think such instruction should be given? B. Marriage 301. Do you believe that "marriages are made in heaven"? What do you consider to be the essentials of a happy marriage? 302. Do you believe in divorce? If so, why and under what circumstances? If not, why not? 303. What do you consider to be the proper number of times for a married couple to engage in sexual intercourse per night, week, or month? 304. Do you believe that sexual relations between a married couple should be exclusively for the purpose and in the expectation of producing children? If so, why; and if not, why not? 305. Is there any alternative to marriage that you approve of? If so, what is it, and why do you approve of it? C. Morals 306. What is your attitude toward "free love"? 307. What is your attitude toward prostitution? 308. Do you believe in censorship of: (a) literature (b) the stage (c) moving pictures (d) art? If so, how and to what extent do you think it should be exercised? If not, why not? 309. Do you believe that sexual relations for their own sake are immoral? If so, why? If not, why not? 310. Do you believe that man is essentially monogamous ot essentially polygamous? Do you believe in the double standard of morals, or would allow women the same latitude in sexual behavior as you would men? 311. What do you consider to be the most satisfactory solution to the sex problem in youth? 312. Do you believe in birth control, or are you firmly opposed to it? If you believe in it, discuss the circumstances under which you consider it justified.

Psychogenic Inventory Part I

Saturday 8 December 2001 in Behavioral Science 11 Comment(s)

A psychogenic inventory is the general guideline, an evolving method, individual to each psychiatric professional, which is the basis for psychological analysis. The following 312 question inventory was implemented in the 50's by psychoanalyst Benjamin Karpman who studied criminal sexual psychopaths at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington D.C.

Child Molesters : A Behavioral Analysis

Thursday 8 November 2001 in Behavioral Science 12 Comment(s)

Produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in cooperation with the FBI Academy, "Child Molesters" is an investigative tool for law-enforcement officers and child-protection professionals handling cases of children who are sexually exploited. The practitioner will learn valuable investigative strategies, the characteristics of a pedophile, and the difficulties often encountered in cases of sexual exploitation. Criminal-justice professionals will benefit from the chapter on establishing probable cause through expertise when applying for search warrants in cases of child molestation. For the researcher, a list of additional reading is found at the end of the text.

Overview of Mental Illness

Monday 5 November 2001 in Behavioral Science 6 Comment(s)

Mental illness is a term rooted in history that refers collectively to all of the diagnosable mental disorders. Mental disorders are characterized by abnormalities in cognition, emotion or mood, or the highest integrative aspects of behavior, such as social interactions or planning of future activities.

The Psychology of Terrorism

Tuesday 25 September 2001 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

Terrorist. What sort of mental image comes to mind when you think of a terrorist? Most persons would likely think of men with assault rifles and bombs, men who feel so betrayed by someone or something that they will attack anyone, even the innocent, to get the territory or the recognition they believe is due to them. Such is political terrorism. It is motivated by bitter hearts, and it breeds bitterness and hatred.

Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Case of Diagnostic Confusion

Thursday 6 September 2001 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

by Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. Psychiatric Times February 1996 Vol. XIII Issue 2
A Secret Service agent recently asked if I was familiar with a 1992 FBI report that almost half of the killers of law enforcement officers met the criteria for antisocial personality. I replied that I had not seen the report but that the finding did not seem surprising or noteworthy to me. My comment was based on the assumption that the report had used antisocial personality as a synonym for antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), a category listed in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and applicable to the majority of criminals.

Stigma and Violence - Briefing Paper

Sunday 2 September 2001 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

Stigma is one of the most important problems encountered by individuals with severe psychiatric disorders. It lowers their self-esteem, contributes to disrupted family relationships, and adversely affects their ability to socialize, obtain housing, and become employed (Wahl, 1999). In December 1999, the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health called stigma "powerful and pervasive," and DHHS Secretary Shalala added: "Fear and stigma persist, resulting in lost opportunities for individuals to seek treatment and improve or recover."

Schizophrenia : Poor Treatment = Increased Criminality

Friday 31 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 5 Comment(s)

Prelapse Magazine, No. 2, September 1995
A [new] Danish investigation shows that criminality among people suffering from schizophrenia has been increasing by 6.8 per cent a year during the past decade. There can be only one explanation.

Notes on the Clinical Assessment of Dangerousness in Offender Populations

Friday 31 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

David A. Cohen, M.A. Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Be'er Ya'akov Center for Mental Health P.O.B. 16, Ayalon, Prison, Ramlah, Israel

Mental health professionals are being called upon with increasing frequency to provide courts with dispositions regarding the dangerousness of violent and sex offenders. In certain cases, professionals are required to spontaneously report their impression that a given patient (whether inpatient or outpatient) is dangerous, and may be held liable for damages if they do not (Gage, 1990; Simon, 1990;Tarasoff v. Regents). The Judiciary demands, and expects to be provided with such assessments in parole hearings, sentencing and sexual psychopath hearings and insanity pleas Halleck, 1986; Pollock. 1990). Despite protests made by mental health professionals throughout the 1980's and early 1990's that dangerous behavior could not be predicted, recent literature suggests that if certain basic rules are followed clinicians can indeed accurately predict dangerousness in certain situations (Apperson, Mulvey & Lidz, 1993; Otto, 1994 Quinsey, 1995; Serin & Amos, 1995). This article reviews these rules, and suggests a method for the clinical evaluation of dangerousness using a semi-structured clinical interview. Several brief case histories will be provided to demonstrate the method's utility.

Violent Fantasies

Thursday 30 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 6 Comment(s)

By Sally Satel; D J Jaffe NATIONAL REVIEW July 20, 1998, pp. 36-37
A MacArthur Foundation study found that the mentally ill are no more violent than anyone else. Can it possibly be true? Last May, Raymond Cook went on trial for first-degree murder in the death four years ago of Thomas J. Guinta, a police officer in Fall River, Massachusetts. The same day that Cook shot Guinta, he spared the life of a longtime neighbor because he mistook her for a movie star who had played opposite James Cagney. The day before Easter, 26-year-old Keith Powell of Red Oak, North Carolina, showed up with a shotgun at his aunt Louise's birthday party and killed his grandfather and two uncles. Months earlier when he walked away from his group home, his mother knew that he had quit taking his medication, and she feared that the voices in his head would soon return. After the shootings, Powell committed suicide.

Criminalization of Americans With Severe Psychiatric Illnesses : Fact Sheet

Thursday 30 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 10 Comment(s)

"We are literally drowning in patients, running around trying to put our fingers in the bursting dikes, while hundreds of men continue to deteriorate psychiatrically before our eyes into serious psychoses… The crisis stems from recent changes in the mental health laws allowing more mentally sick patients to be shifted away from the mental health department into the department of corrections…"
---California prison psychiatrist

Briefing Paper

Tuesday 28 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 11 Comment(s)

APPROXIMATELY 1,000 HOMICIDES PER YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES ARE COMMITTED BY INDIVIDUALS WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESSES WHERE DOES THIS NUMBER COME FROM? 1. 1988 Department of Justice study (J. M. Dawson and P. A. Langan, Murder in Families, U.S. Department of Justice, 1994): This was a study of 2,655 homicides in 1988 drawn from a "representative sample" of 33 of the largest counties in the United States. The information was obtained from the files of prosecutors who examined the cases. They reported that 4.3 percent of the assailants had a "history of mental illness."

Schizophrenia Facts - Fact Sheet

Tuesday 28 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 4 Comment(s)

"Schizophrenia is a cruel disease. The lives of those affected are often chronicles of constricted experiences, muted emotions, missed opportunities, unfulfilled expectations. It leads to a twilight existence, a twentieth-century underground man... It is in fact the single biggest blemish on the face of contemporary American medicine and social services; when the social history of our era is written, the plight of persons with schizophrenia will be recorded as having been a national scandal." ---E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., Surviving Schizophrenia

The Criminal Behavior of the Serial Rapist

Friday 10 August 2001 in Behavioral Science 11 Comment(s)

By Robert R. Hazelwood, M.S., Special Agent Behavioral Science Instruction/Research Unit Quantico, VA and Janet Warren, D.S.W. Institute of Psychiatry and Law University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA From 1984 to 1986, FBI Special Agents assigned to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) interviewed 41 men who were responsible for raping 837 victims. Previous issues of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin provided an introduction to this research1 and the characteristics of the rapists and their victims.2 This article, however, describes the behavior of these serial rapists during and following the commission of their sexual assaults. The information presented is applicable only to the men interviewed; it is not intended to be generalized to all men who rape.

Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ICD10)

Friday 15 June 2001 in Behavioral Science 3 Comment(s)

The The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders
(World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992) describes Anti-Social Personality Disorder as a personality disorder, usually coming to attention because of a gross disparity between behaviour and the prevailing social norms, and characterized by at least 3 of the following:


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