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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Motive, Method and Madness

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:07 AM
diana diana is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 154
Default Psychopathic Speech Patterns

Some researchers have discovered that psychopaths have distinctive speech patterns which differ from the rest of us. This fascinating article describes these subtle speech differences and perhaps could be used to study all the JTR letters with a view to sorting out the genuine from the hoaxes.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:49 PM
Archaic Archaic is offline
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Location: Seattle area
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Hello Diana. That's a very interesting article; thanks for posting it.

I'd like to see the study expanded, as it used a rather small sample base.

I've watched, heard, and read the speech of psychopaths, and they definitely use speech to manipulate their listener. The finding in the study that psychopaths use more speech pauses than normal is especially interesting.

In Bundy's recorded interviews there are a huge number of long pauses full of "umms" and "ahs" as he searches for the turn of phrase that will allow him to present matters in a way that serves his own needs. I think it's due to the fact that being in prison on Death Row, his goal was to divulge enough useful information about missing victims to convince the authorities that it was worth their while to continue postponing his execution- but at the same time his psychopathic ego sought to talk around the subject, manipulate the listener, deflect moral blame from himself, and present himself as smarter, bolder, and more skillful than anyone else. In that setting he had conflicting needs and goals, so he hemmed and hawed to a remarkable degree as he chose his next words... but when he was stalking a victim and had a unified goal, I'm sure his speech was very smooth.

Unfortunately we only get to interview psychopathic killers after they've been caught.

Best regards,
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:12 PM
GregBaron GregBaron is offline
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Default A dangerous disorder...

Interesting stuff you all. Studies also indicate that psychopath’s speech patterns can be incongruous, nonsensical or contradictory when analyzed. Perhaps it’s difficult to make a lot of sense when one lies constantly.

Archaic, your points about Bundy are insightful, he was the poster boy of psychopathy. Thinking up lies could explain the ‘hems’ and ‘haws’.

Unfortunately we only get to interview psychopathic killers after they've been caught.
Keep in mind though that not all psychopaths are killers, in fact the majority are not, think of your favorite politician. They walk among us in all professions. Usually his or her personality disorder will come to the fore and they will be caught in some callous or impulsive act. Think of the fall of some of your favorite politicians.

They are learning more each day about this disorder that appears to be genetic and incurable. The best news of late is that one study showed that with a somewhat Pavlovian system of reward and punishment some behavior modification is possible although this was hardly a Eureka moment.

perhaps could be used to study all the JTR letters with a view to sorting out the genuine from the hoaxes
I’m not sure if we can equate speaking and writing Diana (with psychopaths) but it’s a clever thought…

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:53 PM
curious curious is offline
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Location: Tennessee
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Hi, Diana,
Very interesting article. Definitely left me wanting to know more.

However, I'm not sure I agree with Greg about the writing and speaking issue.

A couple of paragraphs indicate to me that at least some of the indicators might show up in the writing of psychopaths:

Psychopaths used more conjunctions like "because," "since" or "so that," implying that the crime "had to be done" to obtain a particular goal. They used twice as many words relating to physical needs, such as food, sex or money, while non-psychopaths used more words about social needs, including family, religion and spirituality. Unveiling their predatory nature in their own description, the psychopaths often included details of what they had to eat on the day of their crime.

Past as prologue: Psychopaths were more likely to use the past tense, suggesting a detachment from their crimes, say the researchers.
It would be interesting to check out the letters and see if you find any indications.

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