Murderous Minds (Hardcover)

Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil

By Dean A. Haycock

Pegasus Books, 9781605984988, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 6, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/15/2015)

List Price: 27.95*
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"An informed, masterful account of the theory, research, controversies, and issues surrounding the construct of psychopathy . . . His balanced and scientifically sound coverage of the literature and issues are admirable and refreshing. Readers not familiar with the technology and procedures of neuroscience will appreciate the way in which Haycock makes the science understandable, interesting, and relevant. Highly recommended." —Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us and developer of the the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised.

Is there a biological basis for evil? From neurological imaging to behavioral studies, Dean Haycock's account of the groundbreaking research reveals what scientists are learning about the psychopaths living among us. 

How many times have you seen a murder on the news or on a TV show like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and said to yourself, "How could someone do something like that?"

Today, neuroscientists are imaging, mapping, testing and dissecting the source of the worst behavior imaginable in the brains of the people who lack a conscience: psychopaths. Neuroscientist Dean Haycock examines the behavior of real life psychopaths and discusses how their actions can be explained in scientific terms, from research that literally looks inside their brains to understanding how psychopaths, without empathy but very goal-oriented, think and act the way they do. Some don’t commit crimes at all, but rather make use of their skills in the boardroom.

But what does this mean for lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, victims and readers--for anyone who has ever wondered how some people can be so bad. Could your nine-year-old be a psychopath? What about your co-worker? The ability to recognize psychopaths using the scientific method has vast implications for society, and yet is still loaded with consequences.

About the Author

Dean A. Haycock, PhD, is a science and medical writer, who earned a PhD in neurobiology from Brown University and studied at The Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard. He has been published in many science publications and is the author of Murderous Minds: Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain and Characters on the Couch: Exploring Psychology Through Literature and Film along with several other books. He lives in New York.

Praise For Murderous Minds: Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil

Murderous Minds is a gem. I became completely immersed in it and lost myself in the world Haycock created at the nexus of science, story, history, complete with downright wondrous narrative yarns to boot.

— James Fallon, Ph.D., author of The Psychopath Inside

In this fascinating page-turner, neurobiologist Haycock tries to uncover the correlation between brain abnormalities and violent behavior, and whether one guarantees the other . . . Haycock concludes "that the neurological profile of the criminal psychopath is consistent with key features of psychopathy: a lack of moral sense and a lack of empathy." In the end, though, he admits that criminal responsibility cannot be traced unequivocally to a neurological basis but that such research can certainly begin an important conversation in the legal world.

Can the tendency for criminally psychopathic behaviors be identified by analyzing neurological images? If so, what consequence does this have for science and society? Psychopaths are everywhere—an estimated 1 in 100 adults qualify. Most are nonviolent but not all: One subset of this group, criminal psychopaths, have aggressive and sometimes-violent tendencies and often fail to exhibit empathy or remorse despite knowing the difference between right and wrong. But Is it moral or legal to use this information to try to predict violent crimes or to influence a jury deciding a verdict? The author explores these tricky issues in accessible and insightful chapters that break down the science behind the data while using narratives of high-profile criminals—e.g., Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Mafia contract killer Richard “The Ice Man” Kuklinski, rapist and murderer Brian Dugan—to provide chilling real-lifeexamples of criminally psychopathic behaviors.  Part true crime, part neuroscience and a page-turner from start to finish.