Can you help me understand this Psychology question?
Respond to Peers: respond to at least two of your classmates who chose a different person/character than you chose. Be sure to include in your reply specific commentary examining the uses and applications of applied behavioral science as discussed by your classmate. Ask questions that might help to further your understanding of the applications of applied behavioral science and take the discussion to a deeper level. Do you agree with your peer’s rationale as to how a forensic psychologist might help? Why, or why not? What other similarities and differences might you share about the actual work of forensic psychologists and the way it is presented in popular media such as television and the movies?
Peer 1 (Athena)
Charles Manson is the serial killer that I will discuss. I’ve chosen Manson because I am intrigued as to how one person was able to brain wash so many people. And the fact that they were such loyal followers and committed heinous crimes for him. He is one of the most known serial killers.
Charles Manson was an American cult leader who grew up in a troubled home including resentment and rejection from his mother. He began playing and petty crime at a very young age, landing him and prison by the age of 17 where he would spend half of the first half of his life. After release from prison and 1967, Manson would begin forming “The Family” which consisted of roughly 100 loyal followers including a slew of young girls who believed Manson was Jesus. He later begins his murderous campaign and became one of the most infamous real killers and history to date (“Charles Manson,” n.d.).
Manson was released from prison in March of 1967, and his notorious spree of murders began with the murder of actress Sharon Tate in August of 1967. Manson himself was only convicted of nine murders, but has been linked to a total of 35. All of his victims were white, which was because me and strongly believed in the idea of Armageddon from the Book of Revelations and that the “racial war” was coming and he would begin it by killing the “whiteys”.
Forensic psychology as applying the science of psychological behaviors to criminal situations. Forensic psychology is often used in different settings from assisting law enforcement agencies to treating individuals that commit crimes. Forensic psychology would have been especially helpful in this case because the thorough knowledge of multiple homicide offenders and academic psychological knowledge could have helped narrow the suspect pool. It could have also helped provide expert services to the relationship between prior criminal behavior and multiple homicide offenders. Forensic psychology could have also been used with the followers of Manson to gain a better understanding of how he was able to manipulate them into committing these murders to better understand his personal psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, which includes characteristics of delusions and hallucinations causing a break from reality (McCarthy, C. J., DeLisi, M., Getzfeld, A. R., McCarthy, C. J., Moss-King, D. A., Mossler, R., Privitera, G. J., Spence, C., Walker, J. D., Weinberg, R. S., & Youssef-Morgan, C. M.)2016
I do believe that profiling is a science. This is because profiling consists of analysis of crimes that can identify important personality traits and behaviors (“FBI — Criminal Profiling Part 1 of 7,” n.d.). This analysis can be used to possibly predict future behavior.
Forensic psychology is very different than on TV because it portrays that all information is easily accessed and is not very timely lengthy. In reality, it consists of a multitude of research and is very time consuming; not to mention not all information is easily accessed buy all individuals.
I believe the most important ethical consideration of forensic psychologists must uphold is to remain unbiased. Becoming biased could tarnish the credibility of the psychologist and their services that are provided to law enforcement.
Peer 2 (Leah)
My serial killer of choice to speak about is Edward Gein. He is not often spoken about so I thought he would be someone interesting to speak about but as I did my research, he is so well known that there was a special on the History channel about him when he passed away. Also, his story was an inspiration for Norman Bates (Psycho), Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs) and Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) (The Biography.com, 2014). Ed Gein was a notorious killer and grave robber, he murdered and mutilated his victims and often kept “trophies” such as skin lamps. He grew up in a very strict household and was a raised on a farm in Wisconsin, which he rarely left. His father passed away in 1940 which is when his only brother and he picked up jobs to help support the farm and family. Once his mother passed away in 1945, his mental health disintegrated (The Biography.com, 2014). It was an interesting fact that the women that were found that were murdered by Gein were women that resembled his own mother. After Gein was apprehended as a suspect in a 1957 murder, the investigation of his home yielded a highly disturbed man who kept human organs and fashioned clothing and accessories out of body parts. Gein was ultimately deemed unfit for trial by reason of insanity. Ed Gein as found guilty of the murder that took place in 1957 but for the reason of insanity so he was sentenced to live life in the Central State Hospital. He was later transferred to the Mendota Mental Health Institute, where he died from cancer and respiratory illness (The Biography.com, 2014).
Forensic Psychology would have been helpful in this case to understand Gein’s purpose of grave digging and wearing body parts of the dead or making furniture out of the deceased. In addition, the understanding of Gein’s relationship with his mother and the drive to murder women that resembled her. Gein was only found guilty of the one case but no others were investigated, even the ones that he confessed to. Ed Gein was clearly mentally unstable but forensic psychology key concepts would have played an even bigger role in where he was placed and who he was around. Gein was not cleared for parole, he did not appear to be a danger to himself, and he was not faced with criminal responsibility due to being deemed insane. The two key concepts that I did not see note of were the concepts that he could still be dangerous to others and if there was a chance of future dangerousness (McCarthy, Christopher J., 2016(6.3)).
Profiling is a science that studies the way an individual’s mind works and thinks and its patterns of habit. As I studied more about Gein and compared his case to those that I have recently watched on “48 Hours,” it seems that the justice system and the role of forensics has evolved but both still have room to grow. With technological advances, it is easier to trace evidence and in the years of when Ed Gein was on trial, his is among many cases that were deemed unfit for trial by reason of insanity. Now, there is more facts and studies of why someone committed a crime and their sentence revolves around those findings.
The topic of ethics and forensic psychologists was an interesting read. In our book it is stated, “Many criminal cases utilize eyewitness testimony because the information comes from an individual who directly witnessed a crime and can thus attest to the defendant’s role in the event. However, there are many concerns about the reliability of eyewitnesses accounts of criminal events and the ability of witnesses to accurately recount the events from memory while in court” (McCarthy, Christopher J., 2016(6.6)). I understand this statement since as humans the most unsuccessful game is the game of telephone and there is the chance that the mind adds something to a memory or even takes it a way in the event of stress or grief. With that said, it would be the most ethical route to have both witness and forensic evidence work together and compact evidence and statements, which would endure that the case be given a good ethical foundation.