Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lack of Emotional Expressions in Psychopath Murderers. (Part I)

Does Lack of Emotion in Violent Criminals during Interviews mean They're Psychopaths??
Some of my research led me to Youtube videos about many aspects of Psychopathy.

I have noticed some peculiar things in many videos about Criminal Psychopaths. I'm talking about the kind of videos where a specific individual is being interviewed, their crimes are being described, and sometimes visual details from the crime scene are being shown.
We are shown interviews with respectively the (now incarcerated) criminal/Psychopath, and one or more experts... often Forensic Psychologists, but also prison wardens, family members of either the victims or the Psychopath, or both, etc..

Most often the pattern is the same: The Interviewer introduces us to the name of the convicted Psychopath, and describes in short what crime/s he has been convicted of doing, as well as of what sentence he received/is now serving.
Then the criminal Psychopath tells us about his past life before the crime, often focusing on elements from his childhood which may or may not have played a role in him developing antisocial traits.

Usually we don't hear the Interviewer saying much, if anything at all, his/her questions are cut out as non-significant. I am mentioning this here, because obviously people don't start telling you about their childhood out of the blue when they're being interviewed about a specific episode that happened later, after they grew up. However, the questions to their childhood serve as a psychologically interesting element of the TV show.

The Interviewer now proceeds to introducing a professional expert - as stated, often a clinical or forensic psychologist - who apparently know this particular individual's case. This person will now tell the viewer about some fundamental details pertaining to psychopathy.

After this point the show switches between clips of the criminal psychopath telling about the crime - how it came about, what the motive was and how he felt before, during and after the event - and the psychologist who comments on the way the criminal behaves during the interview, how he speaks, his mannerisms etc., and his facial expressions - or lack thereof.

The final clip usually displays the psychologist saying some final words that apparently are meant to encapsulate the central issue about how in particular one can tell that this individual - the criminal psychopath - is indeed a psychopath.

Now let me say right away, that I - being myself a psychopath - can fairly easily spot another psychopath; it is not a special ability I have, other psychopaths can do the same thing as easily as I can. We don't have to talk to or learn a lot of details about each other. We just 'know'!
I mention it here, because in all fairness I must say that, yes: Most of the criminal psychopaths in these videos are psychopaths, and the following is not an attempt to dispute the fact! ...I just wanted to make this clear before I continue.

What I find incredibly awkward about some of the statements from the psychologists that we so often hear in these videos, is that they usually focus on how much emotion you can see, or not see, in the psychopath's facial expression while he describes the crime and other events.

Some of the people we see in these interviews will claim various kinds of feelings such as Horror, Fear, Remorse, Sadness, Terror, or Grief, etc., and some do not. But that is not the point. Whether or not they claim to have such feelings, the psychologist always points to their Lack of Emotional Expression!
And every time it hits me as the wrong thing to say, because to me their emotional expressions seem perfectly normal!!

Now you may say that this is because I'm 'a psychopath myself, so I wouldn't know!'. But I think there's more to it than that!
And tomorrow I will tell you more about what that is!...


Zhawq said...
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Anonymous said...

Spot on, I consider this to be empathy. I just have it for people like me, we don't lack empathy per say, we are just on a different wave length to the norm. And happy to be here