Sensational and Extreme Interests in Adolescents

  • Kathy E. Charles
  • Vincent Egan

Abstract

This chapter addresses sensational interests and offending behavior in adolescents and examines if such interests can be said to cause offending. The quantitative assessment of sensational interests is a relatively new area within forensic psychology. This chapter reviews the literature so far and presents the first findings in this area based on an adolescent sample. Several recent case studies of adolescents with sensational interests who have also murdered are presented. Intrasexual competition (or mating effort) emerges as an important individual difference affecting the criminogenic relevance of sensational interests. Suggestions for improvements in the measurement of sensational interests are discussed along with the relevance of the current findings for offender profiling.

References

  1. 1.
    Killer ‘obsessed by the occult.’ Retrieved April 5, 2005, from http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4187007.stm.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    School killer ‘made violent film.’ Retrieved April 5, 2005, from http://news.bbc.co. uk/1/hi/world/americas/4382087.stm.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    McDougall, L. (2005). Silent and defiant to the end, Luke Mitchell denied the family of Jodi Jones the one answer they needed. Sunday Herald, January 23.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Robertson, J., & Gray, L. (2005). Cannabis blamed for ‘wicked’ Jodi murder. The Scotsman. February 12.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    ‘Vampire boy’ asked officer to bite him. Retrieved April 27, 2004, from http://news. bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2134693.stm.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Khan, S. (2003). Celebrity cult of vampires can turn into real-life evil. The Observer, October 26.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Robelen, E. W. (2002). Spending plan for 2002 laden with ‘earmarks.’ Education Week, 21(20), 23–27.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Prendergast, A. (2001). I’m full of hate and I love it. Denver Westword. Retrieved April 27, 2004, from www.westword.com/issues/2001-12-06/news.html.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cullen, D. (2004). The depressive and the psychopath. Retrieved April 23, 2004, from http://slate.msn.com/id/2099203.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Davis, H., & McLeod, S. L. (2003). Why humans value sensational news: an evolutionary perspective. Evolution and Human Behavior, 24, 208–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Egan, V., Auty, J., Miller, R., Ahmadi, S., Richardson, C., & Gargan, I. (1999). Sensational interests and general personality traits. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 10, 567–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brittain, R. P. (1970). The sadistic murderer. Medicine, Science, and the Law, 10, 198–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Egan, V., Charlesworth, P., Richardson, C., Blair, M., & McMurran, M. (2001). Sensational interests and sensation seeking in mentally disordered offenders. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 995–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Egan, V., Austin, E., Elliot, D., Patel, D., & Charlesworth, P. (2003). Personality traits, personality disorders and sensational interests in mentally disordered offenders. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 8, 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Loranger, A. W. (1999). International Personality Disorder Examination. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Austin, E. J., & Deary, I. J. (2000). The ‘four As’: a common framework for normal and abnormal personality? Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 977–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Weiss, A., Egan, V., & Figueredo, A. J. (2004). Sensational interests as a form of intrasexual competition. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 563–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Egan, V., Figueredo, A. J., Wolf, P., McBride, K., Sefcek, J., Vasquez, G., & Charles, K. (2005). Sensational interests, mating effort, and personality: evidence for cross-cultural validity. Journal of Individual Differences, 26, 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: a developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Quinsey, V. L. (2002). Evolutionary theory and criminal behaviour. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 7, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Rowe, D. C., Vazsonyi, A. T., & Figueredo, A. J. (1997). Mating-effort in adolescence: a conditional or alternative strategy. Personality and Individual Differences, 23, , 105–115..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (1985). Competitiveness, risk taking, and violence: the young male syndrome. Ethology and Sociobiology, 6, 59–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ellis, L. (1988). Criminal behaviour and r/K selection: an extension of gene-based evolutionary theory. Personality and Individual Differences, 9, 697–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Carpentier, F. D., Knobloch, S., & Zillmann, D. (2003). Rock, rap, and rebellion: comparisons of traits predicting selective exposure to defiant music. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 1643–1655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Arnett, J. (1991). Heavy metal music and reckless behavior among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 20, , 573–583..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nathanson, C., Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2003). Marks of misbehavior: personality, predictors and behavioral correlates of appearance anomalies. Presented at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Charles, K. E. (2006). The effects of sensational interests, intrasexual competition, and psychopathology on juvenile delinquency. Doctoral dissertation, Glasgow Caledonian University.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1988). Self-reported delinquency: results from an instrument for New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 21, 227–240.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Charles, K. E., & Egan, V. (2005). Mating effort correlates with self-reported delinquency in a normal adolescent sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, , 1035–1045..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hooper, J. (2002). Flirting with Hitler. The Guardian, November 16.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Dundas, Z. (2005). The notorious Michael Moynihan. Mumblage International. Retrieved March 29, 2005, from www.mumblage.com/story.php?id=36.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Moynihan, M., & Søderlind, D. (2003). Lords of Chaos. Los Angeles: Feral House.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shobert, A. (2005). Private communication, March 29, 2005.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Baddeley, G. (1999). Lucifer Rising. London: Plexus.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Haste, C. (2001). Nazi Women. London: Channel 4 Books.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Harris, G. (2005). Jodi killer attracts female ‘fanclub.’ The Times, February 12, 2005.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lanning, K. (1989). Satanic, occult, ritualistic crime: a law enforcement perspective. Police Chief Magazine, October.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Swett, B., Marcus, R. F., & Reio Jr., T. G. (2005). An introduction to “fight-seeking,” and its role in peer-to-peer violence on college campuses. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 953–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy E. Charles
  • Vincent Egan

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations