PSYX382 Psychology Of Criminal Behavior : Essay Fountain


Describe at least 6 psychopathic traits that Richard Kuklinski exhibited, using examples from the film to illustrate each of them.

Using the biopsychosocial model of crime, describe at least 3 risk factors that were present which may have led to Kuklinski’s criminal behavior. Make sure you include at least one risk factor from each category (biological, psychological, and social- psychological).



Psychopathic traits exhibited by  Richard Kuklinski, the Iceman

Psychopathy is a disorder of the human personality which is characterized by discrepancies in behavioral, emotional and interpersonal functioning. It includes traits like deceitfulness, fearlessness, callousness and non-conformity.  

Richard Kuklinski was known as the Iceman Killer. He was an American contract killer who worked for the Italian mafia. He had killed almost a hundred people before being caught in the year  1988. He was known as Iceman as he used to freeze his corpses in order to confuse the cops.

The six psychopathic traits which Richard Richard Kuklinski, the iceman exhibited were lack of remorse or guilt, fearlessness, lack of sympathy, criminal versatility, poor behavioral controls and early behavior problems.

He possessed a behavior which was socially not acceptable. He lacked empathy and did not have the feeling of guilt. He was also manipulative, egocentric, and impetuous who used to contravene the rules in search of sensations.

He was aware of his psychological problem. He had no emotional meaning for his barbarous acts.  The reason behind his being psychopathic was that he was raised in an environment which provoked him to behave in a particular way.


His father was an abuser and alcoholic. His mother used constant physical punishments in raising her children. So, lack of affection caused the genetic predisposition in Kuklinski and forced him to deviate himself from the moral behavior. His brother also murdered one girl and was imprisoned for it.

The psychopathic behavior of Kuklinski was rated on the Psychopathy Checklist or Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). It is an assessment tool used to analyze the presence of psychopathy in individuals. It contains the most common personality traits and behaviors of the psychopaths.It is to be completed on the basis of a semi-structured interview which is accompanied by reviewing of the collateral information like the official records.  

The present version of PCL-R lists two Factors viz. 1 and  2. In the reference to the behavioral traits of Kuklinski, his lack of remorse or guilt, fearlessness, lack of sympathy have been categorized under  Factor 1. On the other hand criminal versatility, poor behavioral controls and early behavior problems reflected the characteristics.

Risk factors of the Biopsychosocial Model of Crime which may have led to the criminal behavior of Kuklinski

The biopsychological model of crime is a model of health which comprises psychological, social -psychological and biological factors. It was proposed by George L. Engel in the year 1977 for interpreting health and illness.

Social-Psychological risk factors

In the category of social- psychological risk factors, the psychopaths exhibit the traits of a lack of remorse or guilt, fearlessness and lack of sympathy due to the environment of the family. In the case of  Kuklinski, there was an exposure to violence in his family.

His father was alcoholic and abuser. His mother was harsh and punished him physically for education. Lack of affection from his parents had a powerful impact on his mind and provoked him to be unsympathetic and heartless during his adulthood.  It also had a severe impact on his behavior thereby causing him to be aggressive, antisocial and losing his capability of self-regulation. 


Biological risk factors

The biological risk factors may include genetic factors and negative prenatal experiences of the child inside the womb of his mother.

As a result, some children are born with the hyper persistent behavioral approach. In the case of Kuklinski, his father was addicted to alcohol and abused his mother. So it made him antisocial and he had poor behavior controls from the beginning of his childhood.

Psychological risk factors

The elements of psychological risk factors in a biopsychological model of crime involve components associated with the mental health and personal demographics of the person. Researches show that men are more likely to commit crime than women.

Moreover, past history of behavior is an essential factor for the prediction of committing the crime in the future. If the situation which led to violence in the past is not changed, then there would be the highest possibility for the occurrence of the crime in the future again.  

The other risk factors include a state of acute paranoia or a delusional state of the psychopath. In the case of Kuklinski, due to his delusional state, he believed that he was not guilty due to the reason of insanity along with not being criminally accountable for all the brutal acts done by him.

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