How the FBI sees the psychopath

The latest FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is a special issue on the criminal psychopath.

Apart from the use of eye-scorching clip-art, it’s notable more what it tells us about how the FBI approaches the concept of psychopathy than necessarily being a great introduction to the topic.

Some of the most revealing articles are written by agents and give advice on how to interrogate the ‘psychopath’ as if it was a single type of person and not a relatively consistent pattern of characteristics found within unique individuals.

“…small talk, fidgeting with cell phones or notepads, or showing uncertainty regarding seating arrangements can communicate to psychopaths that interrogators are nervous or unsure of themselves,” says one article, “psychopathic individuals view this as a weakness”.

Well, that’s that then.

Despite some overconfident conclusions, several of the articles do give some good accounts of actual cases and the issue remains an interesting peek into how the FBI sees the psychopath.

Link to latest FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (via @crimepsychblog)


  1. Posted July 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Eye-scorching clip-art. *giggle*

    Fidgeting and looking generally disorganized is a sign of weakness to a psychopath? Hmm. Okay.

  2. Posted July 29, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the links. An interesting topic.

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