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    Hi everyone,

    I was looking through all the groups on here and didn't find one about forensic psychology so I thought I'd make one. It's become a pretty popular subject lately - so many crime shows and broadcasters making gruesome documentaries about infamous crimes, of course some people are going to get interested.

    I think a good starting point would be for some people to talk about their specific interests within this field. An infamous serial killer? Views on the judicial system in your country? Prison reform? Theories on criminal behaviour? Anything you like!

    I am specifically interested in abnormal psychology. Mental disorders such as anti-social personality disorder and schizophrenia which can often lead to criminal behaviour, I find fascinating. At university, we have been studying neuropsychology, looking at how behaviour is linked to brain function etc which is also very interesting.

    Lets get this thread going!
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    WOW. This thread looks interesting. Last summer I read the book: Serial killers; the psychology of violence. It educational to learn about famous killers, but I didn't find a lot of psychology in this book. It was just description of what they did and what happened with them later. The was not enough explanation of their motivation in the book. So, I can say that I am fascinated about serial killers (not the number of people they killed or how they did it, but WHY?). I think that their childhood is also an important concept.
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    Last year, I had to write an essay on the possible psychological and biological causes of serial killing which I found extremely interesting. In doing so, I learnt that childhood events can have a lot to do with it. A lot of infamous serial killers that I researched for the assignment experienced a lot of humiliation at the hands of their parents along with isolation and lack of maternal attachment. So many morals and beliefs are formed during the attachment stage that if it doesn't happen, a child can generate their own morals and beliefs and some are quite often not socially acceptable. On the other hand, if the attachment is formed and the morals of the parents are socially unacceptable then it is often passed on. Some of these disfunctional childhood events can cause anti social personality disorders which are often present in serial offenders. This can lead onto things like narcissistic or psychopathic personalities which can be seen in many serial killers. Some biological factors are mental such as schizophrenia where the sufferer will see and feel things differently to those without it due to malfunctioning neurons in the brain etc. This can be genetic too.

    People have called me weird because of my fascination with serial killers but I'm interested in abnormal psychology which just so happens to be common in offenders! There are lots of more academic books that you could read on this subject. Having trouble thinking of titles and authors off the top of my head at the minute but I will look some up when I'm at my computer (posting from my phone at the moment).

    I'm glad you replied to this thread, its nice to talk to someone who doesn't think its weird lol.
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    (You are just a hero I would never ever type so much on my mobile.)
    Basically, it is just as I thought. All criminals had traumatic childhood. But still it is not really an excuse. A lot of people have bad childhood, and they don't become killers. The title of your essay sounds interesting. What course are you doing?
    And I know it is not really relevant to this topic, but do you know definition of "absence of illness" - it is for my assignment.
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    Hello

    I love Forensic Psychology, it was my favourite module during my undergrad degree. I was offered a place on an MSc Forensic Psychology for September 2013, but I have (slightly reluctantly) turned it down in favour of another MSc which I suspect will help me more for what I want to do afterwards (a PhD into a certain area). There are potential ways I could have linked the Forensic Psychology into it, but the other MSc is more directly related.

    My main research interests into Forensic Psychology are the policing aspects of it. I like the 'occupational' side of things - e.g. policing and stress (e.g. what variables are related, the potential outcomes), perfectionism in police officers, etc etc. And mental health and policing - the more 'clinical' side really, e.g. suicide and self-harm in forensic settings, views of mentally disordered offenders, policing and mental health incidents, etc.

    I did write an essay on evaluating the effectiveness of offender profiling during my Forensic Psych module though and loved it. I managed to end the essay with a quote from my local police force, so best essay ever for me. :P
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    I agree that having a traumatic childhood is not an excuse for killing a bunch of people but I guess it all boils down to your mental predisposition as you rightly said, not all people with traumatic childhoods go on to become serial killers. However, Jeffrey Dahmer is an interesting one because he didn't have a particularly bad childhood. His parents did get divorced and he lived with his father when his mother left (possible feelings of being abandoned), his dad seems like a fairly alright guy though from what I know. But it has been speculated that because Dahmer didn't have many friends, he would spend a lot of time alone and was lonely, thus creating for himself a fantasy world possibly to relieve the feelings of loneliness and being a child, these fantasies can feel very real. Fantasy in childhood can be a way of dealing with stress and sometimes if not taught otherwise, these coping methods can continue into adulthood. It is also a way of dissociating oneself from traumatic experiences such as murdering someone. This can still be traumatic for a serial killer, believe it or not and often they will convince themselves that it was purely fantasy and didn't really happen.

    I'm only in my first year at university studying criminological and forensic psychology at Bolton. Its annoying though because I don't get to do anymore forensic psychology until second year now. We are focusing on core psychology at the moment and only did one module on psychology and crime this year.

    Sorry, I don't know the definition of 'absence of illness', I will have a read about and let you know if I find anything. What is the title of your assignment? Is it an essay?

    Liv, that sounds really interesting too. Do you mean the psychological affects of crime on police and others working in the forensic field? What course(s) have you done and are doing?

    Lucy x
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    Things like the emotional impact of work in forensic/policing areas and factors that affect that. E.g. the emotional impact of Scene of Crime officers, the role of perfectionism in police officers (e.g. whether it is correlated with PTSD, depressive symptoms, work stress, etc), coping strategies, and things like that! I'm also quite interested in things like attitudes towards the police, attitudes towards the criminal justice system, etc, etc.

    I studied Psychology with Clinical Psychology at undergraduate level. Starting an MSc Sport & Exercise Psychology in September, so completely different area to Forensic Psych now - but I'm hoping it will help me more directly to get the PhD area I'd like to look into, so hopefully I won't regret it!

    I don't know about a definition of "absence of illness", although I know health can be defined as "absence of illness" - e.g. if medical disorders and diseases are absent, a person is assumed to be healthy. Although a rather circular definition!
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    I didn't know about Jeffrey Dahmer. He sounds interesting. I will definitely look him up What is the difference between criminological and forensic psychology? Yes, an essay - "Health Psychology". I need to explain the difference between health and absence of illness.
    Liv, what do you want to do for your PhD?
    I found that absence of illness is when you do not feel ill or look ill, but you are ill and you do not do not know about it. I am not sure if this is right
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    (Original post by Wild_flower)
    I didn't know about Jeffrey Dahmer. He sounds interesting. I will definitely look him up What is the difference between criminological and forensic psychology? Yes, an essay - "Health Psychology". I need to explain the difference between health and absence of illness.
    Liv, what do you want to do for your PhD?
    I found that absence of illness is when you do not feel ill or look ill, but you are ill and you do not do not know about it. I am not sure if this is right
    Technically I suppose criminological psychology involves looking at the 'criminal' side of things specifically, forensic psychology involves both criminal and civil aspects of the legal system. In practice they are commonly used to refer to the same thing.

    I'd like to do a PhD looking at perfectionism - specifically about how it relates to exercise, e.g. motivation to exercise, enjoyment of exercise, body image, self-efficacy and self-esteem etc. But early days yet.
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    Ah yes, Jeffrey Dahmer, the homosexual, paedophile, cannibal, rapist, murderer - an interesting one to say the least.

    What you said about absence of illness makes sense although I hadn't heard of it until you mentioned it. Do you mean from a medical perspective there is an absence of illness but from a psychological perspective there is an illness? Or have I muddled that up entirely?

    Lucy
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    (Original post by Wild_flower)
    WOW. This thread looks interesting. Last summer I read the book: Serial killers; the psychology of violence. It educational to learn about famous killers, but I didn't find a lot of psychology in this book. It was just description of what they did and what happened with them later. The was not enough explanation of their motivation in the book. So, I can say that I am fascinated about serial killers (not the number of people they killed or how they did it, but WHY?). I think that their childhood is also an important concept.
    Same here, I'm fascinated by it and I just wonder what on earth is going on in their mind! I'm currently studying A Level Psychology on a home study course with ICS, and hoping to move on to a criminology and forensics course after. :-)
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    (Original post by Amy387)
    Same here, I'm fascinated by it and I just wonder what on earth is going on in their mind! I'm currently studying A Level Psychology on a home study course with ICS, and hoping to move on to a criminology and forensics course after. :-)
    Amy, you'll love it. Best thing I ever did and I've just finished my first year already wanting it to be September so I can do more!!
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    Hi ,
    I love researching about the various criminal minds that exist in modern society and the one I found the most intriguing was Ed Gein. He was a murderer and outlined the true meaning of the term body snatcher.While sociologists tend to explain his two gruesome murders as a result of a poor upbringing by a strict mother who emphasized the loose characters that most girls in society have and that created a 'stereotyped image' of women in the back of his mind. The locals often reported him acting strangely towards women but this is not what caught their attention - it was the stench coming from his barn that was unbearable by the neighbours.They reported this to the police and when they paid a visit they found a house similar to the ghastly mansion of Hannibal - bodies hanging from the ceiling ...gutted and all sorts of 'hate souvenirs' like fingers and unidentified heads.What made him popular was the movie 'The Silence of the Lambs'

    Genetic engineers believe that he was a simple result of a complex gene mutation which prevented him to show love and affection like the rest of us.This evidence was actually used in the court where his trial was carried out.He also inspired the makers of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and so on.....

    Thanks for reading and do leave your comments!!!
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    Thank you, Sidney. Ed Gein is one I don't know that much about but you have inspired me to read some more.
    I like to understand the biological and environmental reasons behind such things.

    Lucy
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    Hi everyone,

    Good to know that you liked my previous post!

    I recently found out about the Amanda Knox trial case.I find it quite interesting.While the story seems a bit usual there is something different in the way Amanda Knox behaves next to the cameras.Through 11 months of court appearances in Perugia, Amanda Knox's behaviour ranged from composed to flamboyant.Knox comes from a stable family, she has lots of friends and is highly intelligent. During her remand in prison, she continued her language studies in Italian, German, Russian and Chinese, read books on philosophy and religion, took guitar lessons, and taught her fellow inmates yoga and English.

    Much has been made of the fact that Knox was caught giggling and seen performing a cartwheel during her first visit to the police station following the discovery of her housemate's brutal murder.When she was arrested, her manner was described as cold and detached. During the police investigation, a friend expressed the hope that Kercher had not suffered. Knox exclaimed: "What do you think? They cut her throat... She***** bled to death!".

    During the next few days, Knox was seen to repeatedly press her hands to her temples, a gesture interpreted as trying to get rid of what was in her mind.A short story, entitled, Baby Brother, written by Knox when she was at the University of Washington in Seattle, also prompted suspicion. In the story, Knox writes about a young woman, drugged and raped by another young woman, and describes the victim's pain in lurid detail.

    However, it was Knox's behaviour in court that was most bizarre. At no point - until the verdict - did we see Knox protesting her innocence or fraught with anxiety. Instead she seemed disconcertedly dissociated from the gravity of what was going on. During the initial period of the trial, she appeared relaxed and cheerful, light-heartedly talking to her lawyers and guards while gesticulating, Italian-style, with her hands.After her behaviour was unfavourably commented on in the press, she became more serious, nevertheless very conscious of the media attention she was receiving. She seemed to play up to it. This was most apparent when Knox appeared in court on St Valentine's day wearing a large T-shirt printed with the Beatles' lyric, 'All you need is love'.

    In conclusion:Knox's narcissistic pleasure at catching the eye of the media and her apparent nonchalant attitude during most of the proceedings show the signs of a psychopathic personality. Her behaviour is hauntingly reminiscent of Eichmann's arrogance during his trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961 and most recently of Karadzic's preening before the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

    Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them - much like Amanda Knox.

    Comments and criticisms will be acknowledged!!


















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    Thank you again for this insightful post. I have never heard of Amanda Knox but will endeavour to read more. It certainly does seem that she has many traits of a psychopathic personality. There's kind of a checklist for these traits when trying to diagnose someone, I am recalling this from the top of my head so will probably forget to mention some but here's the ones I can remember:

    • Conning and manipulative
    • Grandiose sense of self-worth
    • Superficially charming
    • Narcissistic
    • Lack of empathy
    • Lack of regard for the well-being of others
    • Failure to acknowledge responsibility for things
    • Often the inability to uphold steady employment
    • Often has a background of criminality - arson and theft are common here
    • Versatile as offenders
    • Disrespect for authority figures

    That's all I can recall for now but I can think of many serial killers who hold most if not all of these traits so I think they got the inventory correct for the most part!!
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    I agree that there is a clear pattern in the behaviour of some serial killers making them psycopaths.I am having fun with this thread !Hope there are many more like this.
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    Just been informed that, in January, one of my modules at uni will be the psychology of law and justice. I'm excited! We'll be learning about offender profiling and interview techniques and psychology of confessions!!!
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    Hey

    I have been reading through these posts and I find forensic psychology very interesting. Although this may going off topic a little bit, I was wondering if anyone could give me some guidance. I'm starting my second year of my psychology degree and I need to go to a work placement for one of my modules and I will be assessed on it. Is it possible to go into the field of forensic psychology without being qualified, e.g. working alongside the police or in a prison. I would love to do something along these lines for my work experience but I don't know how to go about it if it is possible.
    Thanks
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    Hey So I've been reading briefly and well I absolutely love Forensic Psychology! I find it to be very interesting and something that can be utilized well. I really want to study Psychology then master in Forensics I would definitely love that! I'm looking to find some experience and sign up for various workshops and that which should help
 
 
 
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