Thursday, January 13, 2005

a way you'll never be

“As part of my Ph.D. research on criminal genius, I conducted 44 semi-structured interviews. One of the 44 subjects, in particular, stood out. This noteworthy individual claimed that he had killed 15 people. His story was particularly interesting because—unlike most social research involving serial killers—he claimed that he had never been arrested or convicted for his homicides. Compelled by his account, I met with this subject on five additional occasions, and gradually compiled his criminal life history. Ethical and legal considerations limited inquiry into several dimensions of this subject’s life history, but over time, an interesting and richly textured narrative emerged…

“Official criminal statistics and self-report studies traditionally support the claim that the average criminal offender has a slightly subnormal IQ score—about 92, or eight points less than the population average. However, because criminologists have historically focused their research on vulnerable populations such as juveniles or prison inmates, almost nothing is known about the patterns of criminal behavior among gifted adults with exceptional cognitive abilities. Indeed, prior to this study, no criminological data had ever been gathered on adult offenders with IQ scores in the genius range. Intrigued by this enigmatic topic, I studied the crimes of geniuses—offenses committed by people with IQ scores of 132 or higher…”

Read the full study here (PDF).

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