The Psychology of it All….

Posted: January 4, 2010 in Psychology
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Today we are going to take a look at Dr. Helen Morrison, a child psychiatrist with close to forty years of experience under her belt. Dr. Morrison is best known for her efforts to understand the psychology of serial killers, which whom she’s interviewed eighty of them personally. The main focus of her research was to discover common personality traits among serial killers, for which she was published over one hundred and twenty academic papers and written one book titled My Life Among the Serial Killers : Inside the Minds of the World’s Most Notorious Murderers. Dr. Morrison’s method into the minds of serial killers, which has been developed over a period of thirty years, requires lengthy interviews. These interviews usually last numerous hours in one sitting and generally take paper long after their trials are over. This strategy is built on her belief that serial killers are adept to learning to mimic emotional human behaviors, but this act they perform can only be kept up for a limited amount of time. Typically, Dr. Morrison’s interviews can extend over many years.
Through her studies, Dr. Morrison has been able to make five such observations into the minds of serial killers. (1) Serial killers tend not have one personality. Their minds tend to be a collection of distinct personalities and facades that can be switched at will. (2) Though serial killers can often times be charming in person, if someone of authority were to interrogate them for hours without a break, their charm tend to cease. This is caused by strain, because their charm and personality are only an act that cannot be kept up forever. (3) Once a serial killer’s personality constructs break down, they often fall into a bestial state of mind. In this bestial state, there is no trace of humanity, and they become nothing more than urges. (4) Serial killers often avoid the moral consequences of their actions because their minds are too divided and disassociated to actually bring everything together. (5) Lastly, examining additional cases from a cross-cultural and cross-historical sample, Dr. Morrison claimed that when serial killers receives enough psychiatric help (professional or otherwise) to fully comprehend their actions, they invariably commit suicide.
Although Dr. Morrison has found common traits among serial killers, she has yet to find a common psychological background. She has found no evidence to support profiling of serial killers by the F.B.I., which she claims are notorious inaccurate. Though she has made successful predictions about serial killers prior to their arrest, she explains the reasoning behind her predictions as being simple and not based on psychology.


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