Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Serial Killer Introverts: Myth or Fact?

In the last tens of years the media influence has grown exponentially with the advance of technology. Internet hits them all. We live in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right direction and do our daily activities like work, entertainment, education, personal relationship, traveling, ah you mention.

What we need to be aware is that most of our decisions, beliefs, and values are based on what we know for a fact, our assumptions and our own experience. In our work we usually know what we have to do based on our experience and studies, however on our daily lives we rely on the media to get the current news and facts about what is important and what we should be aware of. 

Thus, the influence of mass media on our society is so big that we should know how it really works. It is very important to be aware of what our society are exposed to every day and we should try to look at things from different perspectives and not just from the one the media gives you. 

The media also shapes stereotypes in real life and it is related to the main topic of introversion that I want to discuss with all of you. In real life, the serial killers or those who go on shooting rampages are nearly always described as being "really quiet" because we already got the knowledge from the media (movie, etc) that typical of psychopaths are like that. 

Introversion does not equal psychosis or a propensity to violence. This really should not need to be said, of course.

For example, The Daily Mail reported a tragically familiar story. A 23 year old named Joseph McAndrew stabbed his parents and twin brother to death in the kitchen of their family home. Here were the very first words of the article: "A... 'Loner and Introvert' allegedly stabbed to death his twin brother, mother, and father..."

The media often brings us tales of "shy", "quiet", "introverted" killers. The article reports that he spent most of his time alone in his room. But McAndrew was not just introverted, he was deranged. He had been struggling with mental illness, possibly schizophrenia for many years. And herein lies the problem. People who suffer from psychoses often withdraw from the world. Technically, they are "introverted" in the sense of having turned inward. 

But they are not introverts in the sense that most people use that word, to connote a person who has a rich inner life and prefers low-stimulation environments (the company of a close friend to a big group, a quiet game of tennis compared to bungee jumping). In fact, studies show that introverted young people are less prone to violence and delinquency than extroverts are! They also smoke less and use fewer drugs.

Another point of view that might help you to re-think to say that Introverts are psychopath is, people who suffer from mania tend to be sociable, talkative, and energetic. So do narcissist. But that doesn't mean that extroversion = mania or narcissism.

So the answer is.. it is a myth.