An antisocial behavior is an act that does not have consideration for another person, and may result in destruction to the society, whether deliberately or through neglect. An individual is said to be antisocial if he acts contrary to the norms of the society (Barriga & Carmelia, 2008, p. 117). Various character traits explain the positive correlation between murder and antisocial behaviors.
Humans constantly develop from the time they are born to when they pass on. Behavior is influenced by stimulus received and synthesized by the central nervous system. The human nervous system is very sensitive to the environment, and as a result, it permits a person`s nervous system to be transformed throughout his or her lifetime. The growth of social coping systems is a process that starts early in an individual`s life, and goes on as children learn to socialize, argue and deal with their fellow children. Some people who are not in a position to develop sufficient coping systems may develop aggressive behavior. The popular types of aggressive behaviors include punching, saying things that hurt another person, and deliberate actions that cause harm to social relationships. These aggressive behaviors may result in fights that entail weapons that may cause injuries and death.
Most of the antisocial personalities result from the antisocial backgrounds they were brought up from during their childhood. They join other groups of individuals who abuse drugs and frequently harass others (Snowden, 2004, p. 624). They go to an extent of using weapons to fight and this can later on result in murder. Some of them mostly tell lies with an aim of gaining favors or avoiding responsibilities. Young individuals who posses such traits have dropped out of school, do not have enough moral development, and do not have empathy for others.
The aggressive behavior related to this personality disorder is described by its early, constant, versatile onset and is usually common within a group. These individuals cannot tolerate frustration, have low empathy, do not respect the authority, and show fascination for committing murder or violence. In most cases, murderers have little bonds with their neighbors and those they want to murder. Such individuals prefer to use violent acts to solve a problem and this can result in fights that can eventually lead to death.
Another antisocial personality related with murder is poor setting of the society that do not have family cohesiveness, and low levels of intellectual and social learning. Psychopaths are highly involved in instrumental aggression because they want to achieve a specific goal. Psychopaths do not have emotional resonance, for instance, they do not have emotions and feelings. The common crimes in which they get involved in are crimes against property and sexual freedom. These activities result in social harm.
Psychopathy is a personality evident among individuals who use a combination of charm, bullying, exploitation, and irregular violence to take control over others, with the objective of satisfying their personal selfish needs. Anti-social behavior is one of the personality traits of persons with psychopathy (Snowden, 2004, p. 625). Some of the anti-social behaviors exhibited by both murderers and psychopaths include behavioral problems during childhood, failure to control behavior, juvenile delinquency, and illegal versatility. For murderers that are psychopathic, they can attack, kill, and rape without having a second thought over the social, good, or lawful effects of their actions. As a result, this gives them the liberty to do whatever they decide to do, whenever they wish.
The connection between murders and psychopathy is even more appealing. Instead, murders may have some or numerous characteristics similar with psychopathy. Psychopaths who kill do not value the life of human beings and are very heartless when dealing with their victims. However, psychopathy in itself does not offer an explanation into the motives of a murder. A clear understanding of a psychopath and its link with murders is important for officers responsible for enforcing laws during the investigation of a criminal offense, and upon taking into custody of the murderer. The distinct behavior of a psychopath can link security officials to link serial cases.
Several features of the family were studied in connection with criminal activities. Some of the factors that were considered are the family structure, types of family relationships, communication channel, and anti-social attitudes (Visu-Petra. 2008, p. 150). The normative and relationship dimension are very significant in studying the link between murder and antisocial behavior. The normative dimension comprise of the parent’s responsibility to instill good morals in their children. On the other hand, if parents manifest an antisocial model and a parenting style that is not consistent with positive development of this dimension, the process is then hindered. Maltreatment and neglect are factors that are considered to enhance antisocial behavior. Several studies indicate that unfriendly outlook of parents are positively related with stealing, substance use, and lying (Visu-Petra, 2008, p.150). Research further indicates there is a high possibility that children learn deviant attitudes and behaviors from their parents. It also indicated that parental criminality and antisocial peers were the key cause of delinquent behavior. The moment students have antisocial behaviors, they are most likely to indulge in criminal activities that can result in murder.
Research indicates that individuals who had initially been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder face challenges in dealing with distress compared with individuals who have never been diagnosed. Adam Raine of Richard Perry University carried out a study to find out the causes of the behaviors of individuals. He is recognized for his MRI study that finds out the quantity of grey matter in the prefrontal cortex of people who have an antisocial personality disorder. This area of the brain is related with executive functioning that comprise of the capability to distinguish between conflicting thoughts, hold back urges and works towards attaining their objectives.
They further argued that individuals with an antisocial personality disorder usually have a low volume of grey matter compared with those who do not qualify for the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (Olthof, 2012, p.373). Other studies into brain structural causes for antisocial personality disorder focuses on the amygdala. It is considered to play a significant task in processing emotion and individuals with high tempers usually inflict harm to others.
The estimations of FBI indicated that between two hundred and three hundred murderers kill three thousands five hundred people annually. Majority of the murderers look good from the outside, but in real sense, they are bad people. Most of the psychologists and sociologists who have studied murderers found out that most of them have experienced extensive and devastating periods of social deprivation and psychological neglect during their childhood. Majority of them come from families with history of illegal activity, psychological sickness, and drug abuse. They further experienced serious emotional abuse and have grown up into sexually dysfunctional adults. These children had a perception that the discipline they received was inconsistent, abusive, and hostile. Murderers are not in a position to efficiently use defense mechanisms because of the abuse they received during their childhood. This makes them face challenges in social places, work environments, and in school.
The brutal environment they were brought in increases the risk of hostility. They have many frustrations, which make them not to be in a position to express their anger; hence, can only express it through violence and rage. The neglectful and abusive experiences during their childhood contribute to the urge to control themselves and their sadistic relationship between violence and sex. Most murderers have not attained maturity and therefore are not in a position to deal with sadistic and violent fantasies in the correct manner. Only 3% and 1% of men and women respectively experience antisocial personality disorder in the entire population: however, these individuals are accountable for violence and crime within the community. This personality disorder is common in all cultural groups, races, and cultures.
Some of the social problems include victimization, and violence; the society now uses this mental health profession to address the problem. Individuals with antisocial behavior are more egocentric, and an individual may not easily identify them as a problem. An individual may not be ready to change his character if he sees no reason to change or understand why he is supposed to change. The therapeutic alliance between the therapist and the client depends on trust, and for the trust to be established if there is a common objective in mind, which is very challenging when handling an individual with antisocial personality disorder (Triebwasser, 2013, p. 799). Presently, there is a genetic relationship for antisocial personality disorder that is backed up by adoption studies. This disorder happens at an advanced rate than normal in children of antisocial men.
Although antisocial personality disorder is common in all ethnicity, some features in American culture offers a productive environment for its development. Considering the origin of murderers, majority of them have experienced cruelty to animals in their childhood. It is generally believed that unkindness to animals in a family tends to be related with child, partner, or elder abuse.
Studies indicate that murderers who are non-psychopathic have higher IAT scores. However, there is evidence that shows that committing a crime may be deliberate. Murderers differ from one to another in various ways including things that motivate them to murder, and their behavior where the offense took place (Snowden et al, 2004, p. 621). Some characteristics are similar to some murderers, for instance, impulsivity, and the need to be in control of their behavior. These behaviors are common with persons with psychopathic individuality disorder.
Dr. Hare and his associates invented Psychopathy Check List Revised (PCL-R), which gives a clinical estimation of the level of psychopathy a person has. These instruments are used for measuring diverse character qualities and unexpected behaviors of a person that is divided into four factors: interpersonal, emotional, way of life, and anti-social. The affective qualities include failure to agree to accountability, lack of understanding and guilty. The way of life, behaviors include failure to have rational objectives in life, and impulsivity. Antisocial behaviors are failure of an individual to control, criminal behavior (Snowden, 2004, p. 634). These factors form the structure of psychopathy and can be visible in various ways in personal psychopaths.
Another antisocial personality associated with murder is juvenile delinquency. During childhood, such children usually have oppositional defiant disorder that later on develops into delinquency during adolescence. They may start behaving in a violent manner towards their teachers, parents, or animals. They may later on become drug dealers, thieves, school bullies, or vandals. Most of the young delinquents grow out of this behavior, as they become adults making them indulge in criminal activities.
Serial murder entails strangers who do not have any close relationship between the sufferer and the lawbreaker. This differentiates a serial murder analysis as more vague action compared with other types of offenses. Since the study does not have any relationship between the offender and the victim, instead investigators try to detect the motivations behind murderers (Ruark, 2013, p. 112). It is tremendously challenging to identify one motivation in a scenario where there are many offenders taking part in the series. Most crimes offended by murderers are intentional. The few who can be exempted are those suffering from varied psychological illness.
In conclusion, there is a relationship between murder and antisocial behavior. Research indicates that family background and parental responsibility play a major task in the social behavior of an individual from childhood until the person dies. It has also been found out that child neglect and alcohol abuse contribute a lot to antisocial behaviors.
Barriga, A., Hawkins, M. & Carmelia, C. (2008). Specificity of cognitive distortions to antisocial behaviors. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 18 pp. 116-118. [Accessed: 4 Apr 2014].
Edens, J. F., & Cox, J. (2012). Examining the prevalence, role and impact of evidence regarding antisocial personality, sociopathy and psychopathy in capital cases: A survey of defense team members. Behavioral Sciences & The Law, 30(3), 239-255. doi:10.1002/bsl.2009.
Edens, J. F., Desforges, D. M., Fernandez, K., & Palac, C. A. (2004). Effects of psychopathy and violence risk testimony on mock juror perceptions of dangerousness in a capital murder trial. Psychology, Crime & Law, 10(4), 393-412. doi: 10.1080/10683160310001629274
Esbec, E. & Echebur’Ua, E. (2010). Violence and personality disorders: clinical and forensic implications. Actas Esp Psiquiatr, 38 (5), pp. 249-261.
Olthof, T. (2012). Anticipated feelings of guilt and shame as predictors of early adolescents’ antisocial and prosocial interpersonal behavior. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9 (3), pp. 371–388.
Ramklint, M., von Knorring, A., von Knorring, L., & Ekselius, L. (2003). Child and adolescent psychiatric disorders predicting adult personality disorder: A follow-up study. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 57(1).
Ruark, J. (2013). A Chilling View into the Mind of a Serial Killer. Psyccritiques, 58(49), doi:10.1037/a0035102.
Snowden, R. J., Gray, N. S., Smith, J., Morris, M., & MacCulloch, M. J. (2004). Implicit affective associations to violence in psychopathic murderers. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 15(4), 620-641. doi:10.1080/14789940412331313377.
Triebwasser, J., Chemerinski, E., Roussos, P., & Siever, L. J. (2013). Paranoid Personality Disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 27(6), 795-805. doi: 10.1521/pedi_2012_26_055.
Visu-Petra, G., Borlean, C., Chendran, L. & BUCs, I. (2008). An investigation of antisocial attitudes, family background and moral reasoning in violent offenders and police students. Cognitie, Creier, Comportament/Cognition, Brain, Behavior, 12 (2).