A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Decoding the Language of a Psychopath

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Prior research conducted by Hancock, Woodworth and Porter (2011) revealed psychopathic language was substantially more dis-fluent than that of their non-psychopathic counterparts. Using more words such as “because,” “since,” "as" and “so that,” when recounting their violence. Psychopathy and individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) demonstrate overlaps in their symptomatology. Utilizing qualitative content analysis research method this research took it one step further and looked at the history of three know serial sex offenders diagnosed with psychopathy, Richard Ramirez, Dennis Rader, and Westley Allan Dodd, whom all suffered from head trauma, to find the bridge between speech dis-fluencies and TBI interrelated them as a causal factor to psychopathy. The main results were that (a) speech disfluencies are caused by a neurological deficit and are not a means of deception tactics (b) there is a biological basis to psychopathy (c) there is a neurological basis to psychopathy (d) speech disfluencies are caused by TBI’s and ASD (e) traumatic brain injuries are tied to psychopathy and (f) ASD is linked to psychopathy.
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
Criminology, Neurology