Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 30
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    Charismatic Leaders of Destructive Religious Cults: An Examination into the Unidentified Culprits of Sexual Homicide
    (2020-05) Bishop, Brianna Nicole
    Empirical research on destructive religious cults is severely limited, specifically with regard to the existence of a possible universal motivation for cultic violence. The widespread acceptance of individualized motivations for cultic violence (e.g., Manson’s Helter Skelter philosophy), however, negates the existence of striking similarities between characteristics — both offense and offender — of cultic violence and sexual homicide. The current study, in an attempt to examine the motivational implications of such striking similarities, utilized archival data to investigate the presence of 16 commonly-identified characteristics of sexual homicide within a singular case study — Charles Manson and the Manson Family. Results indicated that Charles Manson exhibited all of the commonly-identified offender characteristics of sexual homicide, while the Manson Family (and, the resultant Tate/LaBianca murders) exhibited 93.7 percent of the commonly-identified offense characteristics of sexual homicide. These findings suggest that the Tate/LaBianca murders were the product of Manson’s sexually-related fantasies, as well as the willingness of the Manson Family to execute these fantasies by proxy. Despite the limited generalizability of these findings — as a result of a limited sample size, as well as the use of strictly secondary sources (i.e., biographies) —, Charles Manson emphasizes the possibility that cultic violence exhibits an underlying sexual motivation; further research should, therefore, continue to examine this possibility within additional destructive religious cults (e.g., Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple).
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    (2019-05) Venezia, Kylie N.
    Psychopathy exists in all cultures, socioeconomic statuses, races, genders, and ethnic groups. A psychopath, usually criminal, but not always so, forms an image of a callous, self-centered, and remorseless individual deeply lacking in empathy and the ability to form warm relationships with others (Hare, 1993). Currently, psychopathy is treated as a single construct; however, research has illuminated numerous variants within the disorder and comorbidities of other disorders that must not be overlooked (Thompson et al., 2014). In order to attain complete understanding of the disorder, all features and traits must be recognized. In addition, intervention and treatment programs for psychopathic individuals are classically not effective. Psychopathic individuals seldom seek help unless it is legally mandated. For these reasons, it is essential that more research be completed in order to determine novel treatment and intervention strategies in order to combat this issue. The present study contributes to the previous research regarding psychopathy and offers new and innovative recommendations regarding treatment plans that address each variant of the psychopathic personality. In an effort to treat each person individually, while considering their unique traits, behavioral patterns, and comorbidities, this study also considers potential biases that individuals with a diagnosis of psychopathy may be subject to. The findings expand the current knowledge of psychopathy and allow potential growth in the field of treatment.
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    (2020-05) Gutierrez, Brianna Rose
    This project aimed to study the perceptions of criminal justice college students on the likelihood that female officers would engage in a romantic relationship with an inmate. A 3 (marital status: divorced, married, and single) x 3 (behavior type: commenting on physical appearance, divulging personal information, and gift-giving) factorial analysis of variance was conducted to examine perceptions that the officer would engage in a romantic relationship with the male inmate. Results revealed a between-subjects effect for perceptions of behavior type on the likelihood that a female officer would engage in a romantic relationship with an inmate. In a multiple comparisons test, Bonferroni revealed a mean difference for behavior type, but only between the divulging of personal information and gift-giving conditions. It was perceived that female officers who engaged in gift-giving were more likely to participate in a romantic relationship with a male inmate than female officers who divulged personal information. No main effect was found for marital status. No interaction effect was found for marital status and behavior type. Results are discussed in light of the existing empirical literature.
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    (2020-12) Boice, Ashley Shier
    The current exploratory study of juvenile serial homicide offender characteristics identified possible risk factors for antisocial behavior and provided descriptions of the offenders and the crimes. Literature pertaining to psychopathy, clinical diagnoses, severe antisocial behavior risk factors, and serial homicide offenders were reviewed. The research involved an analysis of the 2004 United States Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities pre-coded data for all juvenile serial homicide offenders (n = 11) and juvenile homicide offenders who committed only one homicide (n = 174). Descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted to compare juvenile serial homicide offenders (JSHOs) and juvenile single-time homicide offenders (JSTHOs). Prior violent offenses, the offender’s age at the time of their first homicide, education level, whether they had been fired in the last year due to substance use issues, and their victims’ sex showed significant differences between JSHOs and JSTHOs. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted, however no factors predicted JSHO group membership. These crimes are extremely rare and their perpetrators even more so; future research is encouraged.
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    (2017-05) Gernes, Joshua Joseph
    The purpose of this study is to understand how two separate juveniles that were raised in completely dissimilar styles could both become killers. Considering CU traits and biopsychosocial factors of both subjects to see how much of each played a role. Previous research on CU traits, biopsychosocial factors, biological factors, and factors on juvenile delinquency. A document analysis was done on interviews of both subjects to determine if CU, biopsychosocial played a role in their forming of becoming a killer. The Document analysis showed significant levels of CU traits and biopsychosocial factors that contributed to both subjects becoming killers.