Secrets of the Mafia mind revealed by psychiatrists

By | November 8, 2010

Secrets of the Mafia mind revealed by psychiatrists

Michael Day – … sociologist Alessandra Dino of Palermo University, who has interviewed wives of Cosa Nostra turncoats and studied transcripts of informant evidence, said few mobsters had crises of conscience. “They have a mechanism of neutrality, where deviance equals normality,” he said. “Murder becomes philanthropic because it is somehow related to helping the group they belong to.”

The interest in the mobster’s mind is now so great that Palermo’s University of Studies will soon offer a masters course in Mafia psychology. Students will study the psychological profiles of mobsters and their relatives, as well as informant testimony in courtrooms, lawyers’ dealings with Mafia clients, and the huge amount of wire-tap evidence accumulated over the years.

Meanwhile, investigators hope the growing insight into the mobster’s mind and its foibles will help them to crack the criminal clans. Alberto Cisterna, a prosecutor in the national anti-Mafia office in Rome, said that “psychology figures a lot” in persuading clan members to give evidence.

via Secrets of the Mafia mind revealed by psychiatrists – Europe, World – The Independent.

3 thoughts on “Secrets of the Mafia mind revealed by psychiatrists

  1. Ann

    Interesting: “Murder becomes philanthropic because it is somehow related to helping the group they belong to.”

    So, it is not psychopathy, because a major characteristic of psychopaths is that they feel no empathy. Obviously, the mafiosi have a certain empathy for the group, maybe something like gang members, or …

    Dr Gabriele Quattrone, the researcher to which the above article refers, may be an extension of Robert Hare’s well-known work on psychopaths, which he identified with con-artists, serial killers, Corporate CEOs among others. Perhaps Quattrone is looking a broader phenomenon dealing with members of a corporate group, military group, or a patriotic group etc.

    1. Xeno Post author

      Perhaps they see a mob family like a county. Patriotism is praised when soldiers kill or die for their country. Pathology, then, is murder in the service of too small a clan. :-/

    2. Cheng

      Although psychopaths feel no empathy with their victims, or indeed anyone, is it not right they generally feel very sorry for themselves? They can also have the sociopathic trait of feigning all the emotions that “normal” people feel. So to ensure their own well being, fulfil their deranged blood lust and mark it up as “doing one for the clan”, must sit very well with mobsters.

Leave a Reply