Killer stance

An investigation of the relationship between attitudinal resources and psychological traits in the writings of four serial murderers

Authors

  • Madison Hunter
  • Tim Grant

Abstract

An individual’s set of psychological traits, or their psychopathology,
impacts howthey experience theworld around them, and language offers resources
that allow for that experience to be shared with and communicated to someone
else. That language can then be analyzed for patterns and their connections
to the psychological traits. In a forensic context, such connections may give
valuable insights. There already exist psychological and linguistic approaches
to the analysis of forensic texts, but the psychological approach largely lacks
grounding in linguistic theory and the linguistic approach does not typically allow
consideration of psychological characteristics. What this paper aims to provide
is a step toward bridging that gap. In this paper we examine the system of
attitude from the Appraisal framework developed by Martin and White (2005) and
adapted by Gales (2010) and Hurt (2020) applying this to the writings of four serial
murderers with documented mental health diagnoses. Significant patterns in the
attitudinal resources were identified quantitatively and examined qualitatively
through the lens of the psychological traits that comprised the authors’ diagnoses
to determine if there was a relationship between them. Despite the obvious
limitation presented by the sample size, the results of this study suggest the
approach presented in this paper warrants further investigation.

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Published

22.11.2022

How to Cite

Hunter, M. ., & Grant, T. . (2022). Killer stance: An investigation of the relationship between attitudinal resources and psychological traits in the writings of four serial murderers. Language and Law / Linguagem E Direito, 9(1). Retrieved from https://ojs.letras.up.pt/index.php/LLLD/article/view/12826