Criminal Paper

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 155
  • Published : November 18, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
Abstract:
My goal for this assignment is to define and differentiate criminal and non-criminal psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder, and general criminal behavior. I will also articulate the role of compulsive and addictive behavior in criminal and non-criminal psychopathy, discuss criminal profiling from other types of forensic evaluation, and analyze predatory behaviors based on the co-occurrence of crime scene behaviors. In closing I will develop a profile of a serial predator based on offender, victim, and crime scene characteristics.

Psychopathy is currently understood as a cluster of behaviors and personality traits that are typically viewed in a negative light (Hare 1993). Psychopaths are described as callous individuals who are aware of their wrongdoings but lack remorse. They are individuals who fail to accept responsibility for their actions, while priding themselves on having the skill to avoid sanctions. They possess superficial charm and are able to convey the impression that they are agreeable individuals; however, they also have the ability to lie with remarkable conviction. They have average-to-above-average intelligence and are typically unreliable (Cleckley 1982). Based on the premise that psychopaths do not have a distorted sense of reality and appear to be both rational and aware of their actions, the mental health community classifies psychopaths as sane (Hare 1993). Furthermore, the mental health community regards the conduct of psychopaths as being derived from a combination of cold rationality and an inability to view others as sensitive beings (Arrigo and Griffin 2004). As a result, psychopathy continues to be understood as a set of traits and behaviors that exist independently from any mental disorder. However, if psychopathy is not associated with a mental disorder, the question arises as to what exactly does spur the development of these traits and behaviors? There tends to be a natural inclination to presume that psychopathy is related to upbringing and, more specifically, that individuals who experience difficult childhoods are more prone to psychopathy (Hare 1993; Petrunik and Weisman 2005; Marshall and Cooke 1999). It has been argued, however, that many people who experience troubled childhoods do not grow up to become psychopaths and, more importantly, there are a great number of psychopaths who were raised in loving and nurturing environments (Hare 1993). While it is true that the presence of antisocial parents, parental alcoholism, inconsistent discipline, and lack of supervision are related to psychopathy, it seems more apparent that these factors exacerbate the antisocial behavioral patterns of psychopaths rather than explain the behavioral deficits common to psychopaths (Blair, Mitchell, and Blair 2005). It seems clear, therefore, that psychopathy cannot be attributed solely to environmental factors and that there must be other factors that can more satisfactorily explain this set of traits and behaviors. While environmental factors fail to provide a compelling explanation for the development of psychopathy, these factors are clearly connected to the development of antisocial personality disorder (APD). In a recent study of the relationship between APD and psychopathy, it was found that the two conditions share a common genetic factor (Larsson, Tuvblad, Rijsdijk, Andershed, Grann, and Lichtenstein 2007). Significantly, it was concluded that psychopaths are not sensitive to environmental stimuli in the development of their behavioral patterns, whereas a greater proportion of those who were subjected to environmental strains developed APD than those who were not exposed to such stressors (Larsson et al. 2007). Therefore, it appears that while environmental factors influence the development of APD, the same is not true for psychopathy. This suggests that APD may be characteristic of behavioral adaptations, whereas psychopathy is more likely to be innate...
tracking img