True Crime Psychology and Personality: Narcissism, Psychopathy, and the Minds of Dangerous Criminals
FEMALE KILLERS: Nannie Doss, the Giggling Grandma

FEMALE KILLERS: Nannie Doss, the Giggling Grandma

March 13, 2020

This podcast examines the construct of female serial killers' behavior versus what we would expect with male serial killers. In particular, we focus on the female serial killer named Nannie Doss, otherwise known as “the giggling grandma”.

When it comes to female serial killers, one of the weird things is that for a long time a lot of people didn't even believe that women were capable of serial murder. A lot of the early definitions of the term serial killer were limited to murders that involved a sexual component, but the crimes of female serial killers rarely involve a sexual component. Some experts have argued that there's no such thing as a female serial killer. We see that 98% of female serial killers are white, and they start at around age 31 to 38. They tend to kill female and male victims with about equal frequency. The average number of victims of female serial killers is about 6 and the average victim age is around age 48. In terms of targeting, we see that 30% of female serial killers killed both and children, 45% killed only adults, and 25% killed only children. We also see that female serial killers generally murder within their local area. Female serial killers tend to kill victims by poisoning, suffocation, and staged accidents.

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Ars Longa Media

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Citations

Harrison, M. A., Murphy, E. A., Ho, L. Y., Bowers, T. G., & Flaherty, C. V. (2015). Female serial killers in the United States: means, motives, and makings. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 26(3), 383–406.

Harrison, M. A., Hughes, S. M., & Gott, A. J. (2019). Sex differences in serial killers. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.

Frei, A., Völlm, B., Graf, M., & Dittmann, V. (2006). Female serial killing: review and case report. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 16(3), 167–176.

FEMALE KILLERS: Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Munchausen by Proxy

FEMALE KILLERS: Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Munchausen by Proxy

March 6, 2020

This episode examines the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case, as well as questions like was her sentence fair? Should she be released early? What was the role of Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy (Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another)?

In 2016, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2015 murder of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. In 2018, Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s conspirator, Nicholas Godejohn, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The case has attracted attention because it has been alleged that Dee Dee Blanchard had symptoms of Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy and abused Gypsy Rose Blanchard for years.

Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy is a rare disorder where a perpetrator, usually the parent or other caregiver, intentionally induces, falsifies, or exaggerates manifestations of physical or mental health symptoms in another person under his/her care and in which no obvious external incentives (e.g., financial gain) are involved.

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Ars Longa Media

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Citations

Sokmensuer, H. (2017). A Daughter Trapped, a Mother Murdered Fatal Family Secrets. People, 87(22), 64. https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/cri...

https://www.news-leader.com/story/new...

https://www.biography.com/news/gypsy-...

https://www.change.org/p/missouri-gov...

CASE: Harold Fish Murder Case and the Dark Triad

CASE: Harold Fish Murder Case and the Dark Triad

February 28, 2020

This episode looks at the mental health and personality aspects in the Harold Fish murder case. What dark triad traits do we see in this case? The Harold Fish murder case was an unusual self-defense situation that turned into a second-degree murder conviction. There has been speculation about how the dark triad traits may have influenced the outcome of this case. 

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

For even more, scientifically informed content on psychology and personality check out Dr. Grande's YouTube channel

Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/az-court-...

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15199221/ns...

http://www.haroldfishdefense.org/welc...

DARK TRIAD: Sexual Fantasies and Subtle Signs

DARK TRIAD: Sexual Fantasies and Subtle Signs

February 21, 2020

This episode discusses the dark triad of personality which includes psychopathy, narcissism, and machiavellianism. Particular attention is made to types of sexual fantasies in general and specifically fantasies amongst those with "dark personalities." The first sexual fantasy is “intimate.” This is the most common fantasy. Here we see a sense of attachment and familiarity. This is when somebody wants to connect with a sexual partner at the emotional level. The next sexual fantasy is referred to as “exploratory.” Here we see a commission of diverse acts, like mate swapping or promiscuity. The third one is the “impersonal” fantasy. Here we see characteristics like being emotionally detached and disinterested, for example, fetishism. The last sexual fantasy theme is the "sadomasochistic" fantasy. Here we see causing or submitting to physical or emotional abuse. 

We also discuss some subtle signs associated with the dark triad.  When we think of the dark triad, we think of narcissism as the ‘lightest trait’ and psychopathy as the ‘darkest trait.’ These different traits have characteristics in common like empathy deficits, selfishness, a short-term mating style, as well as being competitive, antisocial, hedonistic, and having antagonism. 

Narcissism in the dark triad is really grandiose narcissism. We see characteristics like arrogance, being socially dominant, being self-centered, a sense of entitlement, and a tendency to manipulate others (we see this characteristic with all three of the dark triad traits). Psychopathy characteristics include callousness; a lack of empathy, remorse, or guilt; violating society's norms; being irresponsible; being impulsive; having shallow effect; and superficial charm. The trait of Machiavellianism includes antisocial behaviors, but they're usually conceptualized as white-collar crime. We also see cynicism, having good impulse control (so this would differentiate Machiavellianism from psychopathy), callousness and being goal-oriented (usually we conceptualize the goal as being negative).

Timestamps:

00:30 - Dark triad and sexual fantasies

09:40 - Subtle signs

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Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

Baughman, H. M., Jonason, P. K., Veselka, L., & Vernon, P. A. (2014). Four shades of sexual fantasies linked to the Dark Triad. Personality and Individual Differences, 67, 47–51.

Valentine’s Day Special: The Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger Affair

Valentine’s Day Special: The Chris Watts and Nichol Kessinger Affair

February 14, 2020

This episode discusses how did the dynamics of the Chris Watts-Nichol Kessinger affair contributed to the Watts family murders. The dynamics in this affair appear to be a critical factor in this case. One theory of the dynamics is that Chris Watts was introverted and insecure and Nichol Kessinger was confident, extraverted, and experienced in romantic relationships. This may have led to a power differential that unintentionally contribute to the horrific murders. This episode also reviews the role that immaturity, the passionate stage of romance, and impulsivity may have had in this case. 

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

Westfall, S. S., Frederick, S. H. I., Baker, K., Boudin, M., & Truesdell, J. (2018). The Watts Family Murders SECRETS & LIES. People, 90(12), 52.

Westfall, S. S., Baker, K. c., & Helling, S. (2018). The Watts Family Murders A MONSTER’S DOUBLE LIFE. People, 90(25), 63.

DARK TRIAD: Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (plus Spotting Dark Triad Traits)

DARK TRIAD: Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (plus Spotting Dark Triad Traits)

February 14, 2020

What is the dark triad? There are three specific personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, and a trait referred to as Machiavellianism. All three of these traits share a personality trait called antagonism.

Narcissism, as it relates to the dark triad, has two different types: grandiose and vulnerable. With grandiose narcissism, we see traits like being dominant, arrogant, exploiting other people, and exhibitionism. With vulnerable narcissism, we see characteristics like being shy, distrusting other people, having mood lability, and being self-critical. Most of the research on the dark triad is really referring to grandiose narcissism and not vulnerable narcissism.

With psychopathy, we see characteristics like violating social norms, being callous, having a lack of empathy, being impulsive, irresponsible, having superficial charm, being manipulative, and having shallow effect. When we look at the research that studies psychopathy related to the dark triad, we're really talking about a continuum where there can be subclinical psychopathy all the way up to clinical psychopathy.

The last trait in the dark triad is Machiavellianism. We don't really see this mentioned in the clinical literature very much. This is really something we see more in literature related to careers. With Machiavellianism, we see characteristics like being manipulative, callous, being goal-oriented, having a satisfactory to a good level of impulse control, and tending to be related to white-collar crime or at least white-collar antisocial behavior. An important point with Machiavellianism is that there's no clinical impairment here with this particular trait. 

What is the difference between the dark traits and the vulnerable dark traits? The dark traits and the vulnerable dark traits are traits that are connected to criminality and, in theory, they are differentially connected to criminality. The dark traits predict certain types of criminal activities and the vulnerable dark traits predict other types of criminal activities. The topic of dark traits and vulnerable dark traits is a little confusing because of the term triad. A lot of times we hear this we hear the “dark triad” and the “vulnerable dark triad,” but just like the traits, there's no single agreed upon definition for the dark triad or vulnerable dark triad. One popular definition of the dark triad would be that there's three traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and machiavellianism. This particular theory, to some extent, has fallen out of favor because machiavellianism doesn't appear to be a distinct construct. I talked about this in a prior video about the dark triad. Another conceptualization has interpersonal and affective psychopathic traits along with grandiose narcissism. The vulnerable dark triad comprises lifestyle psychopathic traits, vulnerable narcissism, and borderline personality traits.

00:30 - What is the dark triad?

07:38 - Dark traits vs vulnerable traits

15:20 - Spotting the dark triad in faces

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Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

Vize, C. E., Lynam, D. R., Collison, K. L., & Miller, J. D. (2018). Differences among dark triad components: A meta-analytic investigation. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9(2), 101-111. doi:10.1037/per0000222

Holtzman, Nicholas S. (2011). Facing a Psychopath: Detecting the Dark Triad from Emotionally-Neutral Faces, Using Prototypes From the Personality Faceaurus. Journal of Research in Personality. 45, 648-654.

Giacomin, M., & Rule, N. O. (2018). Eyebrows cue grandiose narcissism. Journal of Personality. doi:10.1111/jopy.12396

Shiramizu, V., Kozma, L., DeBruine, L., & Jones, B. (2019). Are dark triad cues really visible in faces? Personality & Individual Differences, 139, 214–216.

Edwards, B. G., Albertson, E., & Verona, E. (2017). Dark and vulnerable personality trait correlates of dimensions of criminal behavior among adult offenders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(7), 921–927.

NARCISSISM: Avoiding Narcissistic and Psychopathic Manipulation

NARCISSISM: Avoiding Narcissistic and Psychopathic Manipulation

February 7, 2020

This episode discusses how people that are narcissistic and psychopathic use emotions to manipulate people. This is a specific type of manipulation, where people try to elicit a specific emotion to achieve objective. We know this tends to be more associated, as a behavior anyway, with narcissism and psychopathy. Somebody doesn't have to be narcissistic or psychopathic to be manipulative. When we talk about emotions what we see is that emotions are thought of as helpful. If we look at emotions, we see there are only six basic emotions and they are present across all cultures. The emotions are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Emotions are simple, immediate, and they're constricted to really just six types, although the amount of expression would be different depending on the situation. 

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

 

CASE: Chris Watts, Familicide, and Revenge

CASE: Chris Watts, Familicide, and Revenge

January 31, 2020

This episode discusses the Chris Watts murder case in relation to our understanding of familicide. There's actually a lot of information available in the literature about familicide and yet you'll see kind of a narrowing in on the Chris Watts case without considering that larger context. Sometimes in research and just in trying to gain knowledge in general we have to step back from something to get a clear view of it.

The types of familicide:

Immortality - murders committed in an attempt to immortalize the family - perpetrator “protects” the family, believing that death is better than poverty.

Need for control - perpetrator commits the final act of control by killing the entire family - perpetrator views the family as a singular unit and does not differentiate between individuals.

Suicide - perpetrator kills the spouse and children because he believes they are unable to go on without their head of household - perpetrator is also driven by a desire to protect the family from the shame of having a parent commit suicide

Revenge - tied to sexual jealousy - perpetrator believes the spouse or ex-spouse has been unfaithful - children are seen equally responsible for any betrayal

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations 

Liem, M., & Koenraadt, F. (2008). Familicide: a comparison with spousal and child homicide by mentally disordered perpetrators. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 18(5), 306–318.

Liem, M., Levin, J., Holland, C., & Fox, J. (2013). The Nature and Prevalence of Familicide in the United States, 2000-2009. Journal of Family Violence, 28(4), 351–358

Mailloux, S. (2014). Fatal Families: Why Children are Killed in Familicide Occurrences. Journal of Family Violence, 29(8), 921–926

Sachmann, M., & Harris Johnson, C. M. (2014). The Relevance of Long-Term Antecedents in Assessing the Risk of Familicide-Suicide Following Separation. Child Abuse Review, 23(2), 130–141. 

 

CASE: Chris Watts Psychopathy, Narcissism, Infidelity and Murder

CASE: Chris Watts Psychopathy, Narcissism, Infidelity and Murder

January 27, 2020

This episodes delves into the potential personality characteristics present in the Chris Watts case? There are a number of theories about these murders including those involving psychopathy, narcissism, rage, impulsivity, and infidelity. The details of these murders are horrific.

In 2018, Chris Watts murdered his wife, Shanann Watts (who was 15 weeks pregnant), and his daughters (Bella, age 4 & Celeste, age 3). Chris was involved in an affair at the time with Nichol Lee Kessinger.

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

For even more, scientifically informed content on psychology and personality check out Dr. Grande's YouTube channel

Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

Westfall, S. S., Frederick, S. H. I., Baker, K., Boudin, M., & Truesdell, J. (2018). The Watts Family Murders SECRETS & LIES. People, 90(12), 52.

Westfall, S. S., Baker, K. c., & Helling, S. (2018). The Watts Family Murders A MONSTER’S DOUBLE LIFE. People, 90(25), 63.

NARCISSISM: Malignant Narcissism and Narcissism in the Workplace

NARCISSISM: Malignant Narcissism and Narcissism in the Workplace

January 27, 2020

This episode discusses questions like What is a malignant narcissist? And How does malignant narcissism manifest in work settings?

Malignant narcissism in general refers to an individual has a combination of characteristics related to narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, paranoia, and ego-syntonic sadism and aggression.

There are two types of psychopathy: Factor 1 (primary, interpersonal affective) and Factor 2 (lifestyle, antisocial) psychopathy. Factor 1 psychopathy has characteristics like grandiosity, pathological lying, manipulation, a superficial charm, callous, unemotional, low neuroticism and lack of guilt or remorse. Factor 2 psychopathy has a parasitic lifestyle, being prone to boredom, sensation seeking, impulsivity, irresponsibility, a failure to have long term goals, poor behavioral controls, and criminal versatility.

There are two types of narcissism: With grandiose narcissism we see characteristics like being extroverted, socially bold, self-confident, having a superficial charm, being resistant to criticism, and being callous and unemotional. Vulnerable narcissism is characterized by shame, anger, aggression, hypersensitivity, a tendency to be introverted, defensive, avoidant, anxious, depressed, socially awkward, and shy.

 

More Content on Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder

For even more, scientifically informed content on psychology and personality check out Dr. Grande's YouTube channel

Ars Longa Media

To learn more about or to support Ars Longa Media and this podcast, go to arslonga.media. We welcome your feedback at info@arslonga.media 

Citations

Kernberg OF: Severe Personality Disorders. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984.

Kernberg OF: Aggression in Personality Disorders and Perversions. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

Kernberg OF: Aggressivity, Narcissism, and Self- Destructiveness in the Psychotherapeutic Relationship. Yale University Press, 2004.

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