Saturday, June 30, 2007

In The Mind of The Psychopath

Came across the transcript of a very interesting radio brodcast on psychopathy. The programme which aired back in March 2002 was introduced as follows:

"In fiction there's been Hannibal Lecter and American Psycho. In real life, the legacy of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy still resonates. But how much can we believe of Hollywood's Tinseltown representations of psychopaths? What is it that defines psychopathic personality? Is it a distinct psychological state? And what hope for a cure?"

The show features the thoughts and views of Dr James Blair and Stuart Skinner. At the time, Dr Blair was a Senior Lecturer at the Insitute of Cognitive Neuroscience University College London and Stuart Skinner was a researcher in Forensic Psychology at the School of Psychology University of Queensland.

If you would like to read the transcript from this engaging broadcast, you can do so by Clicking Here

More Information

The All About Forensic Psychology Website has a page dedicated to understanding the Psychopath, which you can access by Clicking Here.

Recommended Reading

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of The Psychopaths Among us by Robert Hare.

Book Description

Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets and they do not always ply their trade by killing.

Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition.

Click Here To Get Hold of The Book

Visitors From The UK Click Here

A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

Monday, June 25, 2007

Criminal Profiling Articles

Read a very interesting criminal profiling article in Monitor on Psychology, the online publication of The American Psychological Association. The first article entitled, Criminal profiling: the reality behind the myth by Lea Winerman documents how Forensic psychologists are working with law enforcement officials to integrate psychological science into criminal profiling. The article covers a range of topics including:

  • How Criminal Profiling Works

  • Psychology's Contributions to Criminal Profiling

  • Crime Action Profiling

  • The Psychology-Law Enforcement Relationship

  • Click Here to read the article in full. From this page, you can also access another related article that addresses whether criminal profiling works.

    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    The Study and Practice of Forensic Psychology: A Comprehensive Review

    The Study and Practice of Forensic Psychology: A Comprehensive Review is an excellent article that first appeared in the February edition of the forensic psychology newsletter. It was written by Dr. Christopher Cronin, a licensed clinical psychologist who has held academic positions in Europe (University of Maryland, Munich Campus), Australia (Flinders University of South Australia) and the United States (Transylvania University and Saint Leo University).

    Dr Cronin has practiced forensic psychology since 1991 conducting competency to stand trial evaluations and criminal responsibility evaluations for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He is Professor and Director of Graduate Training at Saint Leo University in Florida and has conducted over 1800 court-ordered forensic evaluations in the Tampa Bay area.

    For anybody interested in forensic psychology this is a must read article, and with this in mind, I have added the article to the main forensic psychology website, which can be accessed by Clicking Here.

    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Expanding The Use of Geographical Profiling

    Expanding The Use of Geographical Profiling

    Read a very interesting news article about how geographic profiling techniques are going to be employed to help Canadian military forces uncover the supply chain for deadly roadside bombs and other explosive devices in Afghanistan. The plan is to produce threat maps which give a probability of where bomb making factories, meeting points and organization points are likely to be.

    How Does Geographical Profiling Work?

    Geographic profiling works on the premise that the location of a crime site can provide vital information. It assesses and predicts the offender’s most likely place of residence, place of work, social venues and travel routes etc.

    Geographic profiling consists of both quantitative (objective) scientific geographic techniques and qualitative (subjective) components e.g. a reconstruction and interpretation of the offender’s mental map.’

    The primary geographic technique is a computerised system known as Criminal Geographic Targeting (CGT). Put simply, spatial data i.e. data relating to time, distance and movement to and from the crime scenes is analysed to produce a three-dimensional model known as a jeopardy surface.

    The jeopardy surface contains height and colour probability codes which when superimposed onto a map of the area in which the serial crimes have been committed give an indication of the likelihood of offender residence or place of work.

    Recommended Reading

    Geographic Profiling by Kim Rossmo introduces and explains a cutting-edge investigative methodology used to analyze the locations of a connected series of crimes to determine the most likely area of offender residence. It allows investigators and law enforcement officers to effectively manage information and focus their investigation.

    This work explains geographic profiling theories and principles, and includes an extensive review of the literature in the areas of criminal profiling, forensic behavioral science, serial violent crime, environmental criminology, and the geography of crime. Geographic Profiling provides many tables and figures, including color plates, and a glossary, as well as case descriptions of some of the most notorious serial killers in the history of American justice, from Albert DeSalvo and David Berkowitz to Aileen Wuornos and Jeffrey Dahmer.

    Click Here For Full Details

    UK Visitors Click Here

    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Forensic Psychology Forum

    Just to let you know that the Forensic Psychology Forum is up and running again. It was originally launched at the end of last year but was quickly overrun with SPAM and I had to suspend the right for users to post - which rather defeated the object of the forum.

    I'm pleased to announce, however, that registered users can now post again and that I have put a number of measures in place to deal with the problem of SPAM. I have deleted all Spam related users from the system and no newly registered members can post until I have checked and personally activated their account.

    Another way to ensure the integrity of the forum is to have plenty of board moderators, who can delete any Spam or inappropriate posts as soon as they appear. If you would like to be a moderator on the forum, just let me know, it really just involves deleting any SPAM posts you come across when visiting the forum; and it's something extra to put down on your resume/CV.

    There are a number of topic categories on the forum e.g. criminal profiling, psychopathy, forensic assessment, forensic psychology careers, forensic science etc; but please feel free to suggest any new topic areas.

    I'll be promoting the forum over the next few days, so hopefully it won't be too long before we have an active and vibrant online community.

    Click Here to visit the Forensic Psychology Forum, and don't forget to register if you haven't already done so.

    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Criminal Profiling in The Past

    Thought I'd draw your attention to a book I've just ordered; The Last Nightingale by Anthony Flacco. What caught my eye from the following book review was that this fictional work set in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake in 1906 portrays criminal profiling in an historical context.

    Book review by Jennifer Baker from Booklist

    Few literary depictions of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake match the intensity and visceral power of those in Flacco's gripping first novel. The author's screenwriting talent shines in this story of the earth's destructive power and humanity's moral depravity. Buildings lie in brick heaps; those buried under rubble await discovery, and emergency systems fail while citizens scramble to cope. As the broken city reels, a seething criminal element quickly grasps unprecedented opportunities for wrongdoing in the quake's aftermath.

    Mired in corruptive disarray, the police force is helpless against a ruthless, knife-wielding serial killer known as the Surgeon, whose latest victims are three women named Nightingale, killed in their home in the hearing of an unseen witness: Shane, the adopted son, who cowers hidden from view. Shocked and broken, Shane nevertheless steps forward to help a much-maligned Sergeant Blackburn catch the killer, offering his intuitive talent for psychological profiling. The emerging maniacal personality, revealed in increasingly gruesome and venomous detail, rivals the Ripper. Dickens meets Hannibal Lecter. Brace yourself.

    Click Here To Get Hold of The Book

    Visitors From The UK Click Here

    If you would like to learn more about criminal profiling, don't forget that there are a number of pages dedicated to the subject on the main forensic psychology website.

    Click Here to learn about the origins of criminal profiling.

    Click Here to learn about the FBI approach to criminal profiling.

    Click Here to learn about criminal profiling methodology.

    Click Here to learn about geographical profiling.

    Click Here for some criminal proiling career advice.

    Friday, June 15, 2007

    Disorders in the Court: Forensic Psychology Practice

    The video below is entitled. Disorders in the Court! Forensic Psychology Practice. This short but very useful presentation by Sally Manner offers a clear and concise account of several aspects of forensic psychology practice. These incude:

  • The role of the psychologist in forensic cases and how this differs from other applications of psychology.

  • Examples of forensic psychology related criminal issues e.g. competency to stand trial, mental state evaluations and mitigating factors.

  • Examples of forensic psychology related civil issues e.g. family and child custody, testamentary capacity, independent medical evaluations

  • Psychological Evaluations


    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Forensic Psychology Podcast: The history of serial killers

    Fascinating podcast featuring author and forensic psychology lecturer Katherine Ramsland talking about the history of serial killers. Among the issues discussed is the myth that serial killers are a product of the modern age and the misconception that serial killers neatly fit the profile of white male loner.

    Click Here to listen to this great forensic psychology podcast.

    If you would like to learn more about this fascinating topic area, get hold of Katherine Ramsland's latest book.

    The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation

    Book Description

    From ancient Rome through the Dark Ages to the burgeoning West to the open highways of urban America, from the unconscionable exploits of French religious zealot Gilles de Rais to such all-American monsters as Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen Wournos, Katherine Ramsland makes an eye-opening case for the existence of serial killers throughout time, and offers a complete chronological record of the serial-killer phenomenon-as well as the parallel development of psychology, forensic science, and FBI profiling in the serial killer's evolving manifestation throughout human history.

    Click Here For Full Details

    Visitors From The UK Click Here

    A Free & Comprehensive Guide to The World of Forensic Psychology

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Forensic Research: Help Develop The Depravity Scale (Re-post)

    This is a repost of a blog item posted last year.

    Dr Michael Welner is self-funding a research project entitled The Depravity Scale. The Depravity Scale research aims to establish societal standards of what makes a crime depraved, and to develop a standardized instrument based on specific characteristics of a crime that must be proven in order to merit more severe sentences. In order to make the results of this very important research generalizable, as large a subject pool as possible is required.

    Dr. Michael Welner

    Michael Welner, M.D. is responsible for a number of groundbreaking innovations in psychiatry. As founder and Chairman of The Forensic Panel, he devised and implemented the first peer reviewed protocols in the United States for forensic consultation. Under Dr. Welner's leadership, The Forensic Panel has achieved his vision of presenting "the last word" to retaining attorneys, opposing counsel, and the courts. This has consistently helped to resolve cases without appearance at trial.

    Dr. Welner's casework has spanned numerous areas of the criminal, civil, employment, and family law, often focusing on frontier issues. Through respect for the science, and dogged investigation, Dr. Welner has promoted and embodied diligence and objectivity as a staple of the forensic examination. He has lectured on numerous forensic and clinical issues as an invited speaker of, among others, the American Bar Association, American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, International Bar Association, Pennsylvania State Senate Judiciary Committee, and various medical center Grand Rounds, at venues around the world.

    In 1996, he introduced The Forensic Echo, and originated the format of a cutting-edge, practitioner-written forensic journal that combined commentary with case and science updates with investigative reporting. More recently, Dr. Welner has pioneered the effort toward establishing a forensic definition of evil. The Depravity Scale is a history-driven forensic assessment instrument that will standardize the definition of "heinous," "atrocious," and "cruel" for purposes of fair and consistent application in criminal sentencing.

    What is the Depravity Scale Research?

    Judges and juries both across the United States and in other countries who decide that a crime is "depraved," "heinous," or "horrible" can assign more severe sentences. Yet there is no standardized definition for such dramatic words that courts already use. And while we may all recognize that some crimes truly separate themselves from others, there is no standard, fair way to distinguish crimes that are the worst of the worst, or "evil."

    To minimize the arbitrariness of how courts determine the worst of crimes, and to eliminate bias in sentencing, the Depravity Scale research aims to establish societal standards of what makes a crime depraved, and to develop a standardized instrument based on specific characteristics of a crime that must be proven in order to merit more severe sentences.

    This research will refine into the Depravity Standard, an objective measure based on forensic evidence. This instrument distinguishes not who is depraved but rather, what aspects of a given crime are depraved and the degree of a specific crime's depravity. The research will enhance fairness in sentencing, given that it is race, gender and socio-economic blind.

    The research has already been guided by legal and scientific study. Now, two surveys have been developed to involve the general public in establishing societal standards of what makes a crime depraved. Phase B enables the general public to shape the specific intents, actions, and attitudes that should be included as items of the Depravity Standard instrument; and Phase C involves the general public in refining the relative weight of these items. In both surveys, all members of the general public are urged to participate. This is the first project ever developed that invites citizens' direct input to forensic science research, and the first project ever developed in which citizens shape future criminal sentencing standards.

    Click Here To Read The FAQ About The Depravity Scale

    What Do You Think

    As the research team note: No matter who you are, where you're from, or what your personal and professional experiences are, your opinion counts in this international study to help distinguish what we all can agree on are the worst of the worst crimes.

    The web-based research survey only takes about 15 minutes to complete. All of your responses are kept confidential and no personal information is ever released.

    Click Here To Participate