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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forensic Psychology: Inside the Killer’s Mind

After Dr. Malinek’s talk last week about forensic psychology, I decided to dig this clip up from Investigative Reports. It features Dr. Dorothy Lewis, a psychiatrist who has devoted her life to studying serial killers, and her theories about what makes a serial killer. She says that a combination of brain injury, abuse, and mental illness creates a lethal cocktail which can potentially turn someone into a killer. 
The clip features Terrence Wainright, a 42 year old who had no previous history of violence, but suddenly snapped one day and killed his 15 year old daughter and wife. You will see Dr. Lewis’s testimony for the defence. 
She also testified for Arthur Shawcross, who killed 13 women and children. This is in part 3. 
Try to watch part 5 of the clip! It shows current research being done on brain scans of convicted murderers compared to normal controls. What’s really interesting is that Dr. Raine, the researcher at the forefront of finding patterns in brain scans of killers, had his brain scanned and it was virtually identical to a serial killers. 

Take home message from Dr. Lewis is: abuse has to be identified early and prevented if we are going to decrease the number of killers out there! 

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