Sunday, April 6, 2014

New research reveals Mafia mobsters are NOT all psychopaths

Mafia mobsters are not all psychopaths despite their reputation for being gangsters who kill, traffic drugs and kidnap, a new study claims.

Italian researchers Schimmenti and colleagues, who are based in the birthplace of the mafia Sicily, went to a prison in Palermo to interview 30 convicted mobsters.

They questioned 39 prisoners in the same institution who were jailed for non gang-related crimes.

The researchers then used the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) to determine whether any of the subjects showed psychotic characteristics.

The 20-item list of personality traits and recorded behaviors associated with psychopathy - such as pathological lying, lack of empathy and an impulsive nature - is a common assessment used to determine whether someone has the personality disorder.

Interviewees are assessed and given a score - with those marked above 30 being deemed a psychopath.

The researchers discovered that none of the Mafia members they questioned scored over 30. Conversely, 10 per cent of the comparative group did.

The report observed of the mafia members: 'This means that they were less ‘manipulative’, ‘Machiavellian’, ‘narcissistic’, ‘unemotional’, ‘parasitic’ and/or ‘impulsive’ than the other participants.

'Further, during the interviews, they often expressed concerns for their children and their families, and they had never ceased to write and call them. Such expressions of attachment were less apparent among the comparison men.

'Even criminal actions for most of the Mafia members were led by loyalty to their families or adherence to the family’s ‘mission’ rather than personal interest.

'It is possible that these individuals compartmentalized their lives and behaviors –on the one side, the Mafia affairs, on the other side, their positive feelings and affects towards relatives and friends.'

The study also noted that Mafia members are less likely to have substance abuse problems than others in prison.

Of the mafia members, the researchers found 57 per cent had been jailed for violent offenses, 23 per cent for murder and the remainder for crimes such as kidnapping, trafficking drugs and fraud.

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