FBI Seeks to Understand the Psychology of Mass Shooters

In a sign of how common mass killings have become, a proposed study would mirror past research on serial killers, assassins

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is embarking on an effort to better understand the psychology behind mass shooters, a sign of how pervasive the tragedies have become.

The FBI has conducted a limited number of interviews with perpetrators of mass killings in an effort to find commonalities in what motivated them to attack. Now the Bureau is considering expanding that into a broad-based study in which it would interview numerous mass shooters and look for patterns in their backgrounds, thinking and behavior.

“We’re definitely missing a piece of the puzzle through the offenders’ eyes,” said Sarah Craun, research coordinator with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.  more

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The real reason the sound of your own voice makes you cringe

Does the sound of your own voice make you want to cover your ears? You are not aloneAn open mouth.

 Hate the sound of your own voice? We all do. But why? Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Most of us have shuddered on hearing the sound of our own voice. In fact, not liking the sound of your own voice is so common that there’s a term for it: voice confrontation.

But why is voice confrontation so frequent, while barely a thought is given to the voices of others?

A common explanation often found in popular media is that because we normally hear our own voice while talking, we receive both sound transferred to our ears externally by air conduction and sound transferred internally through our bones. This bone conduction of sound delivers rich low frequencies that are not included in air-conducted vocal sound. So when you hear your recorded voice without these frequencies, it sounds higher – and different. Basically, the reasoning is that because our recorded voice does not sound how we expect it to, we don’t like it.  more

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‘Benzo Crisis’ Keeps Not Happening

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has found that the misuse and abuse of benzodiazepine is relatively rare, even though the drug is sometimes hyped as the next overdose crisis in healthcare.
Benzodiazepines – often called “benzos” — are a class of sedative that includes Valium and Xanax. The medications are usually prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia.

Data on over 100,000 adults in the 2015-16 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health was analyzed by researchers, who found that benzodiazepines were used by 12.5% of American adults. Of those, about 17% “misused” the drug at least once, but only 2% had what was diagnosed as a benzodiazepine use disorder.

The study found several risk factors for benzo misuse, including younger age, male gender, lower levels of education, lack of health insurance or employment, and lower income levels — factors often associated with other substance use disorders.  more

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Autism Test

Use this quiz to help you determine if you might need to see a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, a mental health concern that involves impairment in social interactions with others.

Instructions: This is a screening measure to help you determine whether you might have an autism spectrum disorder (including what used to be called Asperger’s disorder). Please take the time to fill out the below form as accurately, honestly and completely as possible. All of your responses are confidential and you will be provided with instant results.  more

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From Abused Child to Serial Killer: Investigating Nature vs Nurture in Methods of Murder

“Childhood trauma does not come in one single package.” ― Asa Don Brown

Deeply traumatic experiences, especially during childhood, can have an even deeper impact in adult life. They can significantly shape an individual’s personality and life choices, spurring research into the connection between childhood abuse and criminal behavior. In particular, the extent of childhood abuse reported among serial killers has raised the question: Are serial killers born or made?

Nature vs Nurture

Not all abused children become serial killers, and not all serial killers are victims of childhood abuse. However, the connection between the two cannot be dismissed as just coincidence. According to criminologist Dr Adrian Raine, both biologic and social factors contribute to the making of a murderer. Reviews of more than 100 twin and adoption analyses showed that approximately 50% of variance in antisocial behavior is attributable to genetic influences. In his book, The Anatomy of Violence, Dr Raine explains that “Genetics and environment work together to encourage violent behavior.” For example, those with a specific variant of the enzyme monoamine-oxidase-A gene are more prone to displaying violent behavior if they have had an abusive upbringing. A child susceptible to genetically driven violent conduct does not necessarily become a criminal. However, genetics, in tandem with environmental factors such as violent childhood experiences, work together to shape a person.  more

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The Battle Over Brett Kavanaugh Has Ended. But the Pain His Hearing Triggered Has Not

Since #MeToo went viral, survivors have been inundated with stories of sexual assault and harassment on a weekly — and for some stretches, daily — basis. But nothing had evoked memories and pains of past traumas in some survivors, and particularly women, as much as the respective testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Senators, television personalities and people across the country heard stories from loved ones that they had never been told before. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) saw a 388% increase in traffic on its hotline from the Thursday of the hearing to the following Sunday. That Friday was the busiest day in the organization’s 24-year history. No other single #MeToo moment appeared to precipitate that sort of deluge.

Survivors with histories of sexual abuse are at higher risk of exhibiting PTSD symptoms whenever a #MeToo story hits the news, according to Freyd. But such allegations are often blips in the 24-hour news cycle. The Kavanaugh story dragged on, with an apparent strain on many survivors that the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby allegations did not inspire — and it will continue to do so as he takes his seat on the Supreme Court. Experts say that all that has happened could have lasting effects on the psychology of many victims of sexual assault.  more

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Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis. The psychosis could be hallucinations (such as hearing a voice telling you that you are no good or worthless), delusions (such as, intense feelings of worthlessness, failure, or having committed a sin) or some other break with reality. Psychotic depression affects roughly one out of every four people admitted to the hospital for depression.  more

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Psychology and Psychiatry Jokes

The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

“Well,” said the Director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No.” said the Director, “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”  more

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10 Psychological Studies That Will Change What You Think You Know About Yourself

Why do we do the things we do? Despite our best attempts to “know thyself,” the truth is that we often know astonishingly little about our own minds, and even less about the way others think. As Charles Dickens once put it, “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

Psychologists have long sought insights into how we perceive the world and what motivates our behavior, and they’ve made enormous strides in lifting that veil of mystery. Aside from providing fodder for stimulating cocktail-party conversations, some of the most famous psychological experiments of the past century reveal universal and often surprising truths about human nature.  more

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47 Mind-Blowing Psychological Facts You Should Know About Yourself

I’ve decided to start a series called 100 Things You Should Know about People. As in: 100 things you should know if you are going to design an effective and persuasive website, web application or software application.

Or maybe just 100 things that everyone should know about humans!

The order that I’ll present these 100 things is going to be pretty random. So the fact that this first one is first doesn’t mean that’s it’s the most important.. just that it came to mind first.  more

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