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The Bi modal Personality: A Socio-sexual model of Human Behavior
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By: Robert Depaolo Email Article
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In recent times there has been an emphasis on analyzing the psychological motives of criminals - particularly terrorists and serial killers through the prisms of religious fervor, symbolism, maternal relationships, child abuse etc. While each of these elements no doubt plays a role one has to wonder if the hyper-analysis of criminal behavior misses the point and if the roots of such behavior also derive primarily from a socio-sexual dynamic. For purposes of discussion let us review some crimes of note. Ted Bundy's horrific dynamics...

For all the analysis in books, commentary and documentaries on the motives of serial killer Ted Bundy the dynamics of his horrendous acts might have been fairly uncomplicated. He was spoiled as a child - perhaps due to guilt over the deception that his mother was really his mother. His eventual discovery that he was illegitimate and that his sister was really his mother created a dissonance-fomenting demotion from status of favorite son to gullible, unwanted bastard. He was later rejected by his fiance'; a slender woman with long dark hair who broke their engagement abruptly. This was no doubt interpreted by Bundy as a further demotion in status. He then found another girlfriend whom he tied up regularly as part of a sexual control ritual (possibly in a feverishly compulsive act of self restoration, e.g: "If I prevent you from moving and exert maximal physical control you can't leave or demote me") and subsequently went about murdering numerous look-a-likes to his fiance'. Did his need to kill, then rape his victims posthumously occur because he was never able to reestablish his hopeful, self perceived social rank as "bright, charming law student"; his female-directed nihilism a bizarre way of re-promoting himself and during the process, raising his testosterone levels through the safety valve of ultra control ?

Similar dynamics seem to be involved with many mass murderers and Islamic terrorists - the latter of whom had been promised not only legendary heroic status in death but also access to 72 virgins in paradise.

Charles Manson was a rejected musician who neatly divided up the world into "injured have-nots" (his narcissistically inspired group) and the "haves." For all his ranting about "helter skelter" his actions might have been designed for rank restoration and to establish sexual and physical dominance.


Freud's main emphasis was of course on psychopathology. In recent times many syndromes have been found to derive from biochemical processes in the brain. At face value this would seem to mitigate against a bimodal, evolutionary model of causation; that is, unless correlations can be found between the neurochemical and socio-sexual systems.

Perhaps there are. For example a causative feature of many depressive disorders is a depletion of pleasure-enhancing neurotransmitters such as the catecholamine group. This and other transmitters are also related to social-hierarchical experiences, including an uptake following successful experiences and increased social status (Cheng, Kormenko, et al. 2015).

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Robert DePaolo. M.S. Clinical Psychology, retired practitioner in clinical, education and neurobehavioral fields. Author of four books and many articles on psychology, science, politics, religion and music, former professor of psychology NH University System

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