Advertisement

Pseudocommando mass murderers: A big five personality profile using psycholinguistics

  • Madeline KopEmail author
  • Paul Read
  • Benjamin R. Walker
Article
  • 46 Downloads

Abstract

The current study used artificial intelligence to create a personality profile of pseudocommandos based on language used in their writings. Pseudocommandos are mass murderers who are obsessed with weapons and meticulously plan their attack. The data source was the writings of 11 male pseudocommandos from the United States, of whom 7 committed suicide at the time of the attack. Manifestos and other writing samples by pseudocommandos were collected online in the public domain and analysed using IBM Watson Personality Insights. Results indicated pseudocommandos scored higher than the general population on Openness to experience, and lower than the general population on Extraversion and Agreeableness. No difference was found between pseudocommandos and the general population on Neuroticism or Conscientiousness. Facet-level analysis generally indicated a similar direction of results. This study lays foundations for a novel, post hoc approach to examining this previously unknowable group.

Keywords

Pseudocommando Mass murder Personality 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Akhtar, R., Winsborough, D., Ort, U., Johnson, A., & Chamorro-Preuzic, T. (2018). Detecting the dark side of personality using social media status updates. Personality and Individual Differences, 132, 90–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Auxemery, Y. (2015). The mass murderer history: Modern classifications, sociodemographic and psychopathological characteristics, suicidal dimensions, and media contagion of mass murders. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 56, 149–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkowitz, B., Gamio, L., Lu, D., & Alcantara, C. (2018). The math of mass shootings. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/.
  4. Bogolyubova, O., Panicheya, P., Tikonov, R., Ivanov, V., & Ledovaya, Y. (2018). Dark personalities on Facebook: Harmful online behaviors and language. Computers in Human Behavior, 78, 151–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Costa, P., & McCrae, R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  6. Costa, P., McCrae, R., & Dye, D. (1991). Facet scales for agreeableness and conscientiousness: A revision of the NEO personality inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 887–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davenport, T., & Kirby, J. (2016). Just how smart are smart machines? MITSloan Management Review, 57, 20–25.Google Scholar
  8. Declercq, F., & Audenaert, K. (2011). A case of mass murder: Personality disorder, psychopathology and violence mode. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16, 135–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dietz, P. (1986). Mass, serial and sensational homicides. Bulletin of the New York Acadamy of Medicine, 62, 477–491.Google Scholar
  10. Dutta, K., Singh, V. K., Chakraborty, P., Sidhardhan, S. K., Krishna, B. S., & Dash, C. (2017). Analyzing big-five personality traits of Indian celebrities using online social media. Psychological Studies, 62, 113–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elliott, D. (2013). Judge: DA can use evidence from Holmes’ apartment. Associated Press. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://gazette.com/crime/judge-da-can-use-evidence-from-james-holmes-apartment/article_97e9c1a0-0a5c-5b03-95fa-c284ce6dc480.html.
  12. Fast, L. A., & Funder, D. C. (2008). Personality as manifest in word use: Correlations with self-report, acquaintance report, and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 334–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (4th ed.). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  14. Fleeson, W., & Gallagher, P. (2009). The implication of big five standing for the distribution of trait manifestation in behavior: Fifteen experience-sampling studies and a meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 1097–1114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gain, U., & Hotti, V. (2017). Tones and traits – Experiments of text-based extractions with cognitive services. Finnish Journal of eHealth and eWelfare, 9(2–3), 82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gera, J., & Kaur, H. (2018). A novel framework to improve the performance of crowdfunding platforms. ICT Express, 4, 55–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gill, A., Nowson, S., & Oberlander, J. (2009). What are they blogging about? Personality, topic and motivation in blogs. In Paper presented at the third international ICWSM conference. San Jose: CA.Google Scholar
  18. Goldberg, L. (1990). An alternative "description of personality": The big-five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1216–1229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gravetter, F., & Wallnau, L. (2014). Essentials of statistics for the behavioral sciences (8th ed.). Belmont, CA. Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  20. Harper-Mercer, C. (2015). My story. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/Christopher-Sean-Harper-Mercer-My-Manifesto.pdf.
  21. Harris, E. (1998). Eric Harris’ journal. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from http://acolumbinesite.com/eric/writing/journal/journal.php.
  22. Hempel, A., Meloy, J., & Richards, T. (1999). Offender and offense characteristics of a nonrandom sample of mass murderers. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 27, 213–225.Google Scholar
  23. Hill, T., & Lewicki, P. (2007). Statistics: Methods and Applications. Tulsa, OK: StatSoft.Google Scholar
  24. Hirsh, J. B., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). Personality and language use in self-narratives. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 524–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holmes, J. (n.d.). Computation book: Course of life. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://schoolshooters.info/msites/default/files/James_Holmes_notebook.pdf.
  26. IBM (2016). IBM Watson Personality Insights. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from https://personality-insights-demo.ng.bluemix.net/.
  27. Kent, S., Herbert, C., Magennis, P., & Cleland, J. (2017). What attracts people to a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery? A questionnaire survey. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 55, 41–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Knoll, J. (2010a). The "Pseudocommando" mass murderer: Part II, the language of revenge. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 38, 263–272.Google Scholar
  29. Knoll, J. (2010b). The “Pseudocommando” mass murderer: Part I, the psychology of revenge and obliteration. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 38, 87–94.Google Scholar
  30. Knoll, J. (2012). The "pseudocommando" mass murderer: A blaze of vainglory. Psychiatric Times, 29(1).Google Scholar
  31. Knoll, J., & Meloy, J. (2014). Mass murder and the violent paranoid spectrum. Psychiatric Annals, 44, 236–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 768–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Langman, P. (2009). Rampage school shooter: A typology. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, 79–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Langman, P. (2014a). Dylan Klebold’s journal and other writings. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/klebold_journal_1.1_3.pdf.
  35. Langman, P. (2014b). Sueng Hui Cho’s “manifesto”. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/cho_manifesto_1.1.pdf.
  36. Lyons, M., Aksayli, N. D., & Brewer, G. (2018). Mental distress and language use: Linguistic analysis of discussion forum posts. Computers in Human Behavior, 87, 207–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mahmud, J. (2016). IBM Watson Personality Insights: the science behind the service. IBM technical report. Retrieved December 20, 2018, from https://console.bluemix.net/docs/services/personality-insights/science.html.
  38. McCrae, R., & Costa, P. (2002). Personality in adulthood: A five-factor theory perspective (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  39. McGinty, E. E., Webster, D. W., Jarlenski, M., & Barry, C. L. (2014). News media framing of serious mental illness and gun violence in the United States, 1997-2012. American Journal of Public Health, 104, 406–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meloy, J. R., Hempel, A. G., Mohandie, K., Shiva, A. A., & Thomas Gray, B. (2001). Offender and offense characteristics of a nonrandom sample of adolescent mass murderers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 719–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Miron, M. S., & Douglas, J. E. (1979). Threat analysis: The psycholinguistics approach. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 48, 4–9.Google Scholar
  42. Mullen, P. E. (2004). The autogenic (self-generated) massacre. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 22, 311–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O'Toole, M. (2000). The school shooter: A threat assessment perspective. Quantico, VA: FBI Academy.Google Scholar
  44. Palermo, G. (1997). The berserk syndrome: A review of mass murder. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2, 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pennebaker, J. W., Mehl, M. R., & Niederhoffer, K. G. (2003). Psychological aspects of natural language use: our words, our selves. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 547–577.Google Scholar
  46. Rosen, I. C. (2007). Revenge – The hate that dare not speak its name: A psychoanalytic perspective. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 55, 595–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schwartz, H. A., Eichstaedt, J. C., Kern, M. L., Dziurzynski, L., Ramones, S. M., Agrawal, M., & Ungar, L. H. (2013). Personality, gender, and age in the language of social media: The open-vocabulary approach. PLoS One, 8, e73791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tran, A. (2017). Columbine High School massacre. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 22, 2018, from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89314183&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  49. Walkup, J. T., & Rubin, D. H. (2013). Social withdrawal and violence – Newtown, Connecticut. New England Journal of Medicine, 368, 399–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychological SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations