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Articles published in Psychology Today

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The Human Equation, looks at the dark side of human nature, with a special emphasis on women and crime.

Topics include female serial killers, Munchausen by proxy, cult leaders, and the psychology of evil.

Serial Killers, Self-Reliance, and Everything in Between

Latest Article

Think domestic violence can never touch your life? Neither did nightclub goers, church worshippers, or serial killer victims.


It can be all to easy to attribute the death of an older person to natural causes. Sometimes, frighteningly so.

What If a Serial Killer Murdered Your Grandma?

It can be all to easy to attribute the death of an older person to natural causes. Sometimes, frighteningly so.

Did You Know a Crime Victim May Have Saved Your Life?

What would you do if the worst tragedy imaginable happened to you? I'd love to think I'd be half as brave as these people were.

Wrongful Convictions, Memory, and Eyewitness Testamony

A number of wrongful convictions have suggested we view eyewitness memory with a healthy dose of skepticism. But is it our memory that's the problem?


It Happened to Lisa Bishop. Could It Happen to You?

Jan 26, 2022

A Real-World View of Incompetence to Stand Trial

Accused murderer Lori Vallow has been found incompetent to stand trial and sent to treatment. Is she faking it? Will she ever stand trial? Here's a forensic psychologist's take.

The Psychology of "Copycat Killers"

People often discuss copycat killers after a mass shooting or serial murder. But if the media inspires murder, why aren't true crime fans more violent?

Precious Commodities

Most of us think of life insurance as a way to protect our children from an uncertain future. But what if it's a way to use our child to finance our own?

Should It Matter if a Perpetrator Was Once a Victim

Why would a grown woman burn her father alive? She says it was payback for sexual abuse. But even if that's true, should it matter?

When the Child You've Raised Is a Batterer

We don't usually think about the family who raised a domestic violence perpetrator. What should we do if we do?

Predators Who Pretend to Be Victims

If you don't think there's such a thing as a wolf in sheep's clothing, check out these predators masquerading as victims.

Dying of Old Age

- or Murder?

Just because a senior citizen dies doesn't mean it's "natural". Here's how family members spotted a homicide-in-disguise.

Would You Want a Teenage Killer Locked Up for Life?

Should teen killers be given a break because of their developing brains or should the facts of the crime guide the punishment? The Supreme Court has spoken.

The Case of Accused French Serial Killer Nordahl Lelandais

Serial killers have a lot in common in how they think and what they do. Here's what we're learning from a recent case in France.

Lori Vallow Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

Just as Lori Vallow is finally facing murder charges, a psychologist says she is not competent to stand trial. But is she really similar to other incompetent defendants?

The Right to Life

In January 2021, 18 American children were killed in a murder-suicide. Here's why.

Serial Killer vs.

Serial Killer

Covid-19 has been called a serial killer, but what happens when a medical serial killer meats a real-life one?

The Volga Maniac has Been Arrested

In 2011 and 2012, a Russian serial killer murdered over 20 elderly women along the Volga river. Now that he's been caught, what can we learn from his confession?

The Deaths of Meg Purk and Natalie Jones

Does a victim's history of depression make it more likely that a murder will be staged as a suicide?

When 'Suicide' is Really Murder

What would you do if you thought someone you loved had been murdered but their killer had staged it to look like a suicide--and was getting away with it?

One is a Tragedy, Two is Suspicious, and Three is Murder

In 2019, Nancy Moronez was found guilty or murdering three infants over 30 years ago. All three deaths were initially attributed to SIDs. How could this happen?

Dark Connections

Sexual predators targeting children on the internet are all too common. But internet murderers are much more diverse than you might think

-- and so are their victims.

Hell on Wheels

Cars has long been used as weapons. But a recently arrested alleged serial murderer used his car to kill. Is he the first?

My Cult Made Me Do It

The ability to tell the difference between religious fanaticism and mental illness may determine a defendant's valid insanity plea or the death penalty.

Extreme Beliefs or Religious Delusions

Where is the line between delusions and extreme religious beliefs? The answer to that question may help investigators solve the mystery of three dead adults and two missing children.

The Tragedy of


Eleven murder-suicides are committed every week. Here's what we know about why those tragedies occur.

Lisa Snyder & the Deaths of Conner & Brinley

Lisa Snyder says her 8-year-old son committed a murder-suicide because he was bullied and depressed. Prosecutors say she killed them both. But what does the research tell us?

Adoption Scams, Continued

Adoption scams are rare, but they happen. Don't let them keep you from the joy of a child. Just know what to look for so it doesn't happen to you.

Adoption Scams

From the adoption fraudster who promised made-up babies to the Arizona attorney who's accused of baby trafficking, adoptive parents can be scammed. Here's how.

Serial Murder and

Serial Killers

From the hit show Mind Hunter to documentaries about Ted Bundy; there was a lot of buzz about serial killers in 2019. But what happened in real life? Take a look at five trends.

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