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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  63 reviews
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 l
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 6th 2014 by Pegasus Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Dean Haycock No, it's not. It's an account of real life studies of criminals with psychopathic traits. It describes what scientists have learned about the behavior…moreNo, it's not. It's an account of real life studies of criminals with psychopathic traits. It describes what scientists have learned about the behavior and brains of these individuals that makes them different from the other 99% of the population. (less)

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Dee Arr
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, true-crime
“The negative consequences of having a wide gap between the educated and the uneducated are as dangerous as having a wide economic gap between the haves and the have-nots.” The book thus ends with words from the author, Dr. Dean A. Haycock, aptly describing a theme that travels throughout its pages. Throughout, Dr. Haycock seeks to rectify that situation.

The intention of the author was to make the information accessible to all, with enough description to allow a layman to understand while still
Henry Manampiring
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting premise that psychopath may be "born that way", or have a brain that developed into that situation. Very detailed references and studies that may point to that direction.

Although the author himself admitted that neuroscience is far from being conclusive about psychopaths, this book is still very intriguing. At parts it may feel tedious and too technical, but persevering readers will feel rewarded.

I especially love the end part that hypothesized why psychopaths remain amongst u
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Highly informative, but a bit repetitive (even though, one should be when trying to empirically prove a point. I wanted a bit more true crime details and examples of successful psychopaths. But, I did walk away with a much more informed way of evaluating the science and validity behind articles claiming that neuroimaging has been able to accurately identify areas in the brain linked to behaviors/emotions. Beware when someone claims that data from neuroimaging can predict criminal behavior. The b ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting account of the theories, research, controversies, and issues surrounding the construct of psychopathy and those who exhibit psychopathic traits. Fascinating discussion of the differences between “successful” and “unsuccessful” psychopaths, and where they tend to congregate in society. A bit too technical for the average reader who doesn't have a background in the sciences, but I still got a lot out of it.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read about psychopathy and how it originates, how it is characterized, how it develops, and it's causes. Combined with the addition of interesting but unsettling examples of real life cases highlight how important and influential research into psychopathy is. Critically it was a bit repetitive on occasions but it was an interesting read, easily understandable for a casual reader but provided further reading that I will hopefully venture into. I would definitely recommend it to those ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Highly recommend. The subject is compelling and Haycock is an expert at balancing well-researched, well-explained scientific information with engaging stories. This book will teach you what the word "psychopath" really means.
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly easy and fun to read. I would most definitely read more writings from this author.
Maike Van
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed Dean Haycock's book, Murderous Minds. It was well referenced and showcased viewpoints from differing perspectives. I did not have a difficult time understanding the book, considering my background in research in psychiatry, however I think it could be quite difficult to read this book if an individual does not have any background in research or neuroscience/psychiatry.
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Murderous Minds is a fantastic book. It is an engaging, thoughtful, and informative read about the inner workings of the devious psychopathic mind. Each chapter begins with an anecdote that demands one's attention. Then, Haycock goes on to expertly explain psychopathic behavior using fascinating information gleaned from scientific studies. This is the perfect book for the reader who is interested in learning why and how some people are able to murder in cold blood. I give this book my highest po ...more
Bernie Gourley
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in the neuroscience of criminal psychopathy.
This book examines what neuroscience can tell us about the psychopathic mind, and how that compares to what other disciplines – such as psychology and genetics – have been telling us. This is no simple task because there remains a great deal of disagreement about what psychopathy is and how it relates to other behavioral conditions, like sociopathy.

The book begins with front matter (a Preface and an Introduction) that sets the stage for a reader who may have only a vague and Hollywood-inspired
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
It was very heavy on science and light on specific case studies, which is more what I was looking for, but it was very interesting.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book on the neurobiology of psychopathology. Since two of my degrees are in neuroscience, I really wanted more understanding in this particular problem in psychology. I always tell my students that psychiatric illnesses have a very real physical problem going on in the brain, and this book by Haycock proves my point. I knew about some studies concerning the amygdala which is involved in emotion and compassion, but this book explained what MRI studies have found concerning this a ...more
Liz Barton
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
When I began reading this book, I thought I was really going to enjoy it. Early on, there's an attention-grabbing description of two famous cases of what were in some ways similar crimes but with a key big difference. In case, the perpetrator was a psychopath; in the other, the perpetrator was psychotic. The author does a nice job explaining the difference in a way that's understandable for the average person.
After a strong start, the book kind of fizzles. I will say, it's very well referenced,
Quinn Ellory
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is ideal for those who enjoy and appreciate a wealth of scientific and technical information. While short on "story" it does explain psychopathy, what it means and what it doesn't in great detail. While lay people may struggle with the text (the author does have a PhD while most of us don't) a thorough knowledge of scientific and psychological/psychiatric vocabulary will help the reader move through the body of work. Reccommend for those who work or study in the fields pertaining to th ...more
Julia Harris
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An informative and holistic look at psychopathy and the science and research surrounding it. It is the ideal starting point for anyone looking to understand the subject more by not only discussing symptoms and research but helping the reader clearly understand the implications and context of those things as well as providing lucid commentary on the struggles and short comings of those attempting to further research the subject professionally.
Michaela Crutcher-Lord
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written & gives excellent analysis of real life cases dealing with psychopaths. There was a balance between explaining the science behind psychopathic tendencies and informing the audience of examples. I also liked how the author distinguished terms that are known to be synonymous with each other. ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Interesting info on: identifying psychopaths via Dr. Robert Hare's developed tests, biological deformity markers, fMRI verifications, & current funding into Psychopaths vs. Schizophrenia. This book deserves a Nobel prize, imo. Very much a good learning tool in understanding the dynamics of the unhealed human mind. ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book, definitely a challenging read for those not versed in general psychology concepts. There were parts I couldn't fully grasp, however, the author takes time to describe his findings and it was a fascinating read (if you like this kind of stuff).
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
It leaves a lot of room for guesswork about who among us is psychotic!
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
A vivid book.
Vu Ba
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was Ok, I enjoyed the information being given within a story line, however there were points that were very repeatitive and others that were unbearably dull
Hemen Kalita
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this one. A thorough exploration on psychopathy.
Susan Oleksiw
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medicine-science
Dean Haycock, PhD, is a science writer who has the ability to translate dense technical material into accessible language without sacrificing many of the nuances scientists must deal with, especially in the neurosciences. In this book Haycock traces the development of our understanding of psychopaths, those who are apparently born without the ability to feel empathy and compassion and are a terrifying mystery to the rest of us. There may be some standard features in the lives of these individual ...more
Melissa Embry
With a background both in neurobiology and science writing, Dean A. Haycock takes a broad view of the roots of psychopathic personalities in Murderous Minds: Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil. Although psychopaths have become infamous as conscienceless killers, influenced by their prominence in studies of criminals, many -- what some scientists term "successful" psychopaths -- never see the inside of a prison.

In accounts of some of toda
Elia Liz
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How does the criminal mind connect to the violent behavior? In my journey researching i hoped to better understand the makings of a criminal psychopath. Neurobiologist Haycock made me feel as if I stepped into the mind of a psychopath. While reading I began to analyze empathy, morals, and the way society portrays psychopathy and psychosis. His scientific evidence was brought to life with the connections he made to real life stories. As an undergrad student in biology, I enjoyed the ease made for ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Much telling vs showing

I agree w a previous reader's comment about redundancy. It did seem repetitious & droll to me. And certainly the subject is very intriguing. I expected to be enthralled, never bored!
I would have preferred more delving into the lives, the psyche of the individuals, in the few cases cited. That's what I mean by 'showing'.

The fault I believe, is in the writing, relaying technical terms, generalities, I felt bogged down with the same churned out jargon, pages and chapters wit
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is about brain science, but you don't have to be a brain surgeon to understand it. That's the good news. Almost from the beginning I marveled at how like Philip K. Dick's lifelong mission to define the difference between humans and non-humans is the same mission of today's scientists working on how brains work and what makes some go so far wrong as to be considered psychopathic. (The author finally brought up PKD about 1/2 way through the book. The bad news is that, once you start reading t ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a little disappointing because it’s really as much about the current state of neurology and psychology as much as it is about understanding what is different about the minds of killers. Sociopathy is just kind of used as a theme to link the information in different chapters together. The author often goes on very long tangents, for example taking several pages to explain how an MRI works or to explain the pressure to publish or perish and how it forces scientists to limit themselve ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
pretty good at translating what can and can't be gleaned from studies thus far on neuroimaging of psychopaths. Got Robert Hare and Adrian Raine and others to let him pick their brains (ha ha) about their research and lays out a clear case for the likely utility of more research in this vein, esp. learning more about subtypes (e.g., criminal vs. not; impulsive vs. methodical in exploiting others.....).

Got in a little dig in the acknowledgements at those who didn't agree to be interviewed. I think
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Dean Haycock is a science and medical writer living in New York.

He is the author of "Characters on the Couch, Exploring Psychology Through Literature and Film" (ABC-CLIO/Greewood, 2016); "Murderous Minds: Exploring the Criminal Psychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil" (Pegasus Books), "The Everything Health Guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder," 2nd and 3rd Editions (Adam

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“less-intelligent psychopaths get caught and sent to prison while more-intelligent psychopaths tend to move into corporate or political occupations,” 3 likes
“being fooled by a psychopath is nothing to be ashamed of.” 2 likes
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