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.